Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Carbon Tax Debate Continues

Alain Juppé, who was to have been Sarkozy's Green Czar until he lost his bid for a seat in the Assembly, has come out in favor of the carbon tax proposal, but his embrace of the measure should really be described as oui, mais ... Although he criticizes Ségolène Royal, rightly, for her incoherence on the issue, he more or less echoes her complaints about the inequitable impact of the new tax, which, perversely, his party insists on characterizing as "not a new tax"--it's such a pity that the French haven't picked up the handy American phrase "revenue neutral," the slick way of saying that a tax isn't really a tax at all.

The problem with all green issues, of course, is that everybody is for doing something to--fanfare!--"save the planet," but no one wants to bear the cost. It should all just happen. So what you get is a dance of the seven veils, and all the parties are currently whirling and sashaying to the music of planetary time.

Lest Ségolène's backtracking on the carbon tax confuse anyone, Martine Aubry reaffirmed that her party's leadership group is unanimously in favor of some kind of contribution climat énergie, as long as it's not Sarkozy's. So we are back to the Left's old tricks: we'll give you what the Right promises to give you, only we'll do it in a more social way. Just as we had "social Europe," now we have "social ecology." But this will-o'-the-wisp is never bodied forth as a full-blooded counterproposal.

Then the Right muddies its own position in response: in addition to Juppé's equivocations, you have Jean-François Copé saying that he's "not hostile to the principle" of a carbon tax, but of course one mustn't "mistake the target," and the "incentives" have to be got right. Well, sure. So what incentives do you propose?

More comment here.


MYOS said...

Local Paper states plainly:
une chose devient de plus en plus évidente: si on devait écouter les uns, exonérer les autres et rembourser quasiment tout le monde, comme l'a promis Christine Lagarde, on aurait sans doute inventé la taxe la plus stupide de l'histoire.

Just because someone calls something "écologique" does not mean it is - this tax looks like it could do good except it doesn't because from the basic premise to the proposed action there's a gap the size of the Grand Canyon.

MYOS said...

Corinne Lepage, the Green Conscience (CAP21) for the Modem, just twitted:
Taxe carbone > "on est en train de faire une nullité"

Laurence Parisot had a better idea: let's invent the tax that is PAID to polluting companies!

I also loved Fillon: une taxe n'est pas un impôt.

I'm not kidding -- this is a mess but it's hilarious.