This is why economists love a carbon tax: One change to the tax code and the entire economy shifts to reduce carbon emissions. No complicated regulations. No rules for what kind of gas mileage cars have to get or what specific fraction of electricity has to come from wind or solar or renewables. That’s by and large the way we do it now. Reilly says the current web of rules is a more complicated and more expensive way of getting the same outcome as a carbon tax. … Reilly says, you can reduce, say, income tax to balance out the new taxes people are paying for carbon emissions. People pay more for gas, but they get to keep more of their income. I called around and talked to a bunch of economists about this, and they said the basic idea was sound: If you give the carbon-tax money back by cutting income taxes, you can probably offset a lot of the pain.
My problem with the carbon tax, versus Cap-and-Trade is that with a carbon tax, it goes directly to consumers. Who are just as likely to vote for people who promise the cut the carbon tax without offsets as they are to vote for people who promise to cut income taxes without offsets.