I already in a previous post deconstructed Kevin Drum and Joe Romm's critique of the carbon tax. One reason they don't like the carbon tax is:
Well, for one, it doesn't have mandatory targets and timetables. Thus it doesn't guarantee specific emissions results and thus doesn't guarantee specific climate benefits. Perhaps more important, it doesn't allow us to join the other nations of the world in setting science-based targets and timetables. Also, a tax lacks all of the key complementary measures "” many of which are in Waxman-Markey "” that are essential to any rational climate policy, but which inherently complicate any comprehensive energy and climate bill.
What they are basically arguing is that a carbon tax works by hundreds of millions of individuals making decisions in reaction to higher prices, and chosing their own way to reduce carbon production. They don't trust this kind of bottom up chaos, despite the fact this is how our entire economy and society works, except for a few corners where beltway guys live and breath in their own reality. They want a few "scientific" guys at the top picking winners and subsidizing technologies and particular approaches.
I described why I disagreed with this (or you could spend some time with Hayek to really understand why it is wrong) but I found it staggering that the very next post from Kevin Drum in my feed reader was this one:
Via the LA Times, this is the best news I've heard all day:
The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed renewable fuel standards that could reduce the $3 billion a year in federal tax breaks given to producers of corn-based ethanol. The move sets the stage for a major battle between Midwest grain producers and environmentalists who say the gasoline additive actually worsens global warming.
....While biofuels as a whole "” including grasses and even algae "” are considered promising alternatives to petroleum, some researchers have begun challenging the use of corn for this purpose.
In particular, they point to the "indirect land-use" effects of pulling corn out of the world food supply, which could force farmers in developing nations to clear rain forests "” and release massive amounts of carbon dioxide in the process "” in order to plant corn.
Since ethanol is the largest example of Congress's past attempts to set "rational climate policy," what in the hell gives Drum confidence things are going to be any different in the future? It is yet another example of technocratic planners arguing that the failure is not top-down planning, just the particular individuals doing the planning. If only my guys did the planning, things would be different. Right.
Besides, it was a Democratic Congress that passed the last round of ethanol subsidy increases and a Democratic Congress that is upping them again. So it is Drum's guys doing the planning, and they are making a hash out of it, as all planners do.
For the record, I don't want my guys in DC doing the planning. I want 300 million people making their own damn choices. When did this ever stop being a liberal value?