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A new paper that calls for the introduction of a US carbon tax has been released by a group of former Republican administration members and economic advisers and leading business representatives.
Issued under the auspices of the Climate Leadership Council, the paper proposes that the tax might begin at USD40 per ton of carbon dioxide. At the completion of a five-year period, a panel would recommend whether the tax rate should rise further.
Border adjustments would be made for the carbon content of both imports and exports. Exports to countries without comparable carbon pricing systems would receive rebates for carbon tax paid, while imports from such countries would face fees on the carbon content of their products. Proceeds from the fees would boost carbon dividends paid to American households.
All the proceeds from the carbon tax would be returned to households by way of quarterly tax-free dividend checks, direct deposits, or contributions to individual retirement accounts. The Social Security Administration would administer the program, with eligibility for dividends based on the existence of a valid social security number.
It has been calculated that a family of four would receive around USD2,000 in carbon dividend payments in the first year. The US Treasury Department has estimated that the bottom 70 percent of US taxpayers would profit under such a program.
Finally, the proposal would eliminate or phase out an array of US energy-related regulations that would no longer be necessary, thereby reducing government bureaucracy. Much of the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory authority over carbon emissions would be phased out, including a repeal of former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan.
The paper suggested, "now that the Republican Party controls the White House and Congress, it has the opportunity and responsibility to promote a climate plan, … by offering a more effective, equitable and popular climate policy based on free markets, smaller government, and dividends for all Americans."
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