Friends of Science Society’s new report Carbon Kleptomania rebuts the notion that Canadians could make more money back from carbon taxes than what they pay in.
Carbon taxes are an expense, not an investment.
Canadians for Clean Prosperity issued a report by Mark Cameron, based on commissioned research by Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics, which modelled (computer simulated) potential benefits of carbon tax rebates. The report was entitled “Federal Carbon Price Impacts on Households in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario” released on or about Sept. 22, 2018.
The report confuses the notion of a ‘dividend’ (which is a profit-share return on a successful business investment) with a carbon tax ‘rebate’ which is a subsidy to low income families who are burdened by the carbon taxes on their personal energy use (gasoline, natural gas, electricity), and the carbon taxes embedded in the products or services they pay for. Businesses must pay carbon taxes, which are treated like any other operating expense. That cost is passed on to the consumers.
The report from ‘Clean Prosperity’ falsely says “There will be enough funds to give households back more than they paid in because carbon taxes are collected not only on households but also on business and industrial emissions.” Households, as consumers, pay for the carbon taxes that are initially charged to businesses as those costs are embedded in the price of all products.
Cameron’s report reframes carbon taxes that come from the pockets of citizens as if a carbon dividend, such as that paid by profitable corporations back to shareholders.
Citizens of Canada are not investing in something when they use vital energy resources to heat their homes, light the lights, drive to work, or have a job where energy is an integral factor for the work to exist. They are paying for a product and delivery of service. Energy – especially in Canada – a ‘winter’ country – is an essential means of survival.
Years ago, our aboriginal and pioneer ancestors burned wood and dung – “buffalo chips” – to keep warm and cook food at the camp fire. Imagine the government would have taxed them on these basics they needed to survive! There is no difference today on coal, natural gas and oil – without them, modern society would collapse into anarchy within days. Thus, the concept of a tax like this on essential services is fundamentally contrary to the motto of Canada – “Peace, Order and Good Government.”
Friends of Science Society rejects this ‘dividend’ distortion. Taxes on citizens are not comparable to shareholder dividends; dividends are beneficial returns on increasing profit. By contrast, carbon taxes take the most from the poor, favor green crony capitalists, hurt the most vulnerable of our Canadian society and run small and medium sized businesses into the ground.
This report is a compilation of relevant commentaries by Robert Lyman, Ottawa energy policy consultant, former public servant of 27 years. He also served as a diplomat for 10 years prior to that.
Link to full report: Carbon Kleptomania