Clarifying a tax on carbon pollution

In his "The Truth of the Matter" column, Don Keelan said that a tax on carbon pollution is a "horrific excise tax". However, it's not actually a tax increase. It's a shift. We will cut other taxes. That's part of the proposal, and to say otherwise is hardly "The Truth of the Matter". Many Vermonters have two major concerns about the future. One is that we are permanently and rapidly altering our air, and the other is that we are using up the oil and natural gas that power our way of life, our agriculture, and our industry. Jimmy Carter said that the energy problem is "The Moral Equivalent of War". I agree. In a "righteous" war, we ask each other to make incredible sacrifices to defeat a terrible foe, because we have no choice. My father was asked to land in France and to slog his way to Germany as his fellow infantrymen died around him, because there was something that really needed to be done, and he did it.

Similarly, if burning gasoline is slowly but surely making a life like mine impossible for my great grandchildren, can I be asked to step up and do what needs to be done? We cannot stop using fossil fuel tomorrow. That would cause chaos and misery, notably including massive starvation. But can we take the first step? A gradually rising tax on gasoline, with corresponding decreases in other taxes, tells us that there is great harm in burning it, and asks us to find alternatives. There are many alternatives, and we will improve those and invent more, but only when we have to. That is human nature. Yes, Don Keelan, that will be a sacrifice. But sometimes sacrifices are the right thing to do.

— Bill Christian

North Bennington


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