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Tom Friedman On Carbon Tax

Tom Friedman lays out why a carbon tax could save America.

Thomas Friedman in 2009. (AP)

Thomas Friedman in 2009. (AP)

The country’s in trouble and we all know it, says New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.  We’re drifting, just when we need to be rebounding.  We’re weakening, just when the world needs the American experiment with tolerance and pluralism to succeed.  And, says Friedman, we’re not reaching for bold solutions big enough to address our problems.

He’s got one.  A carbon tax, on gas, oil, coal.  To balance our books, rebuild the country, bring America back, and save the climate, the planet.

This hour, On Point:  Tom Friedman on his silver bullet – the carbon tax.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Thomas Friedman,  columnist for the New York Times and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Author of the new expanded edition of  ”From Beirut to Jerusalem.” (@tomfriedman)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times (Tom Friedman): How to Put America Back Together Again — “Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men.”

Slate: The Top Ten Things Americans Care More About Than The Environment — “Environmentalists like to think that the public is in their corner—that it’s only the pernicious influence of Big Oil and Big Coal that keeps Congress from passing a carbon tax or Obama from nixing the Keystone Pipeline. They’re right that most voters care about the planet, insofar as they’d prefer not to see it trashed, all other things being equal. But all other things aren’t equal. And a lot of those other things rate much higher on Americans’ priority list.”

The Washington Post: Europe’s cap-and-trade program is in trouble. Can it be fixed? — “The European Union has long prided itself on taking the lead in tackling climate change. But, this week, the continent’s flagship program — a cap-and-trade program for carbon-dioxide emissions — ran into serious trouble after a big reform effort failed. So can it be fixed?”

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  • Yar

    Tom Friedman, I have a different version of the carbon tax; What if the minimum wage was indexed to the cost of energy?  So when energy prices increase, wages increase.  In my mind this is as close to a balanced budget amendment as we can hope for. Money is a false economy, what we are really trying to do is, trade work over time, but too many people have their hand on the scale, our work is stolen before our time is up. Businesses won’t support fair immigration reform, healthcare, social security, education, or a social safety net. They are stealing our work.  We all deserve a living wage!

    Read the parable of the harvest workers and understand the farmer as a wise business man, for his harvest extends more than one day, and to have workers tomorrow they must have enough to eat today.  So regardless of how long they worked, they got a day’s wage.  Tomorrow they are then able to do a day’s work.  An exploiter wouldn’t understand.  Let those who have ears hear.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      I once read that the energy content of a barrel of oil was equivalent to having 80 human slaves working 24 hours a day for a year. I don’t know how accurate this was but I hope we never loose our access to cheap energy. Life would NOT be good.

      • Yar

        @Wm_James_from_Missouri:disqus You may have hit on the true price of oil.  Would you use it so freely if you knew it caused slavery?  Cheap oil devalues work.  Take cotton for example, we have technology to harvest cotton, yet today only 30 percent of cotton is harvested by machine.  Why? Because people still have to eat.  The price for harvesting cotton has gone down.  People who pick cotton now get lower wages.  For every action there is a reaction.  Over half of the world’s people live on less than 2 dollars per day.  2 percent of the world’s population use 25 percent of the energy.  Who is paying the carbon tax? Those who live with the effects of our waste. We have seen the enemy and it is us. As colonel Jessup said “you can’t handle the truth.”

        • Yar

          Why is it that a man who can hit a golf ball is called skilled and a man who picks tomatoes is called unskilled?

          I bet the tomato picker could hit the golf ball much better than the golfer could do at picking tomatoes.  Much of what we call work isn’t!

          • StilllHere

            How about the guy who hits tomatoes or a golf ball picker?

          • Yar

            Have I rattled your cage?

      • Don_B1

        It is true that almost all the progress in easing life for all has come from the development of cheap energy, which for the last 150 years has been the exploitation of fossil fuels.

        But this has also lead to development of the ability to exploit OTHER sources of energy that do NOT have the negative externalities (costs which are not paid for by their creator but by others not profiting from the endeavor, as recognized by Adan Smith over 225 years ago) that fossil fuels do. These externalities when applied to the current extraction and combustion of fossil fuels include:

        1) Health costs in mercury, arsenic and other metallic elements, including lead as a gasoline additive, as well as carcinogens like benzene and other volatile components of oil and natural gas products, that have caused chronic diseases and mental degradation as well as thousands (to hundreds of thousands or millions) of early deaths. Read and listen to a long description of the effects of hormone-like components in fossil fuels here:

        http://billmoyers.com/segment/sandra-steingrabers-war-on-toxic-trespassers/

        2) Extraction costs in well explosions and well leakages contaminating water supplies. Read the a detailed list of costs of the BP disaster with its Macondo well here:

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/04/22/what-bp-doesn-t-want-you-to-know-about-the-2010-gulf-spill.html

        3) Saving the “best” (as an example, actually the worst by far) for last, the existential threat for most high-order life forms of Anthropomorphic Climate Change. See this post on a study by the International Institute for Environment and Development [IIED] where the present value for the costs of adaptation to climate change costs is estimated if the world stays on the current path (they assumed the A2 path, but so far effects are exceeding that path, so this horrendous cost can be viewed as an underestimate):

        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/10/1696521/flashback-scientists-find-1240-trillion-in-climate-impacts-on-current-co2-path-so-we-must-mitigate-to-under-450-ppm/

        The total costs (negative externalities) is summarized here a for the global economy that will eventually be realized by our descendants is $trillions and described here:

        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/23/1905421/global-ponzi-scheme-taking-73-trillion-year-natural-capital-from-our-children-without-paying/

        But there are sustainable technologies available now that can replace fossil fuels at near equivalent costs. General Electric has stated the currently wind power is competitive with new coal power plants and much cheaper than nuclear power, and solar is close behind (PV particularly).

        See and listen to:

        http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=13-P13-00016&segmentID=4

        If this can be achieved in rainy Seattle, there is just no excuse for doing anything else anywhere in this country.

    • StilllHere

      Let those who have noses smell.

      • Yar

        Tell me what you smell?

        • StilllHere

          Money.
          Just kidding.
          Chocolate and coffee.

      • 1Brett1

        You must have a nose because you definitely smell.

        • Ray in VT

          You smell, Brett.  He stinks.

      • nj_v2

        I smell a troll.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Do we really need a new tax or do we need to read more about advances in technology and invest in these technologies with our hard earned money ? Make a little sacrifice and get a lot of gain !

    Article 1 :

    “The Solar Cell That Turns 1 Photon into 2 Electrons”

    … it should be possible to create a pentacene coating for silicon solar cells that boosts the total conversion efficiency from today’s 25 percent to a shade over 30 percent …

    From:

    http://news.yahoo.com/solar-cell-turns-1-photon-2-electrons-210000772.html

    Article 2 :

    “Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production could ‘revolutionize alternative energy market’ “

     
    From:

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/breakthrough-in-hydrogen-fuel-production-could-revolutionize-alternative-energy-market?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Weekly+Newsletter+Plain+Text&utm_campaign=749909871d-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email

     
    Article 3 :

     
     
    “New solar structure cools buildings in full sunlight, replacing air conditioners “

    …“Stanford University researchers have designed an entirely new form of cooling structure that cools even when the sun is shining, eliminating the need for air conditioning. … “

    From:

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/new-solar-structure-cools-buildings-in-full-sunlight-replacing-air-conditioners

    Self Made Article 4 :

    By, William James from Missouri

    Establish a business that doubles as a cemetery and an solar electric farm, by replacing grave headstones with engraved solar panels. The savings on the price of the headstone will offset the price of the solar panels, which will lead to zero cost to the purchaser of the gravesite. A well designed solar panel will result in a very attractive setting for a cemetery. Make it look orderly, like any military cemetery that you see. Clean, quiet, and located near populated areas, where people live, thereby, reducing ‘ line load loss’ and creating large savings in transmission cost. Do the math. Start by counting the number of people that will die and use a cemetery and would be willing to be buried in a grave that will cost them nothing. Duh ! Free solar power.

    Article 5 thru Infinity:

    They are out there. All you have to do is look.

     
    PS.
    Whatever method we finally gravitate towards will have to be modeled on a dividend paying business model to spark the levels of private investment necessary to promote a sustainable economic environment. Tax revenue will surely follow. Personally, I would recommend forming a mutual fund that packages several concepts across many energy sector sub-sectors, to provide a robust energy profile.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       I like your optimism. 

  • Steve__T

    Whenever you tax a product the price goes up, as the producers continues to make their profits. So we end up paying the tax and whatever else the producer fills is fair game for raising their taxes in the first place.

    • StilllHere

      Whenever the price goes up, the demand goes down; so it is written.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Just like corn eh? 
        There are limits to that rule.

        • StilllHere

          Well, the government doesn’t have to obey the laws of supply and demand, or thermodynamics for that matter, but that’s what the power of taxation perverts.

        • Don_B1

          @Steve__T:disqus @StilllHere:disqus @rwb:disqus 

          The generally recognized rule is that “if you tax something, you get less of it.”

          That does not necessarily mean there is less demand for it, as that depends on the price of alternatives and how necessary it is perceived by those who want it. Some of the “demand” becomes “pent-up” if there are no alternatives of equal or lower price.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Is this a Disqus problem?

  • responseTwo

    I don’t know much about Tom Friedman. I have read some articles about him not always knowing what he’s talking about. I do know what he said in “the world is flat” showed a lack of knowledge about what he claimed to know so much about. He said developers in India fix bugs. They do a lot more than that. Developers in US teach them everything the US developers learned on their own and then US developers get laid off. Two lead developers in US would oversee the offshore developers continuing on in the projects. They didn’t just fix bugs Tom Friedman and your cold un-caring discussions about it were not appreciated. 
    I would like to see Friedman change his name and start all over again doing what he does now. Start  a blog and make sure all readers don’t know it’s not Tom Friedman from the famous NY Times and see how far it goes. Find out what it’s like to compete against people who will do your work for one-fifth the cost.

    • jefe68

      You do realize that Mr. Friedman’s wife, Ann is an heiress to the Bucksbaum family who’s assets are at $4.1 billion.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         I guess that carbon tax won’t hurt ole Tom too much — fewer trips on the private jet — nah, I don’t think so.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    If one accepts the idea that man is contributing to global warming, the concept of invoking some kind of carbon tax to deter use of fossil fuels is a legitimate concept.  Unfortunately, the same group of selfish, greedy characters such as lobbyists, investment bankers/traders, politicians etc. will take whatever system is created and manipulate it (underprice the purchase price on initial credits, creating phony futures instruments that they will somehow manipulate the price of, getting tax credits for other ethanol-like fuels which don’t really reduce fossil fuel dependence but make the industrial-scale farmers rich) so that they line their pockets at the average citizen’s expense.  Additionally, we have seen the price of carbon credits rise and fall dramatically in Europe such that over-speculation and another huge bailout will eventually be required at taxpayer expense and with no one going to jail.

    • nj_v2

      One can implement a carbon tax without a cap-and-scam system. A tax is relatively straightforward and free from the abuse potential of a credit-trading scheme.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Unfortunately, the special interests will take money raised through any mechanism (cap and trade, tax) and use it to line their own pockets at the expense of you and me.  Given how ethanol in gas has been manipulated to enrich the industrial farming industry (the cost being no net energy savings, a boon to small engine repair companies since the ethanol-laced gasoline really does a number on lawn mower, snow blower, and other engines requiring expensive repairs), I don’t trust those advocating either mechanism.  I know that somehow they will come out ahead at our expense.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Ethanol was never about the enviroment. It was about votes.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        LOL.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Ponzi schemes always end that way.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      FTA:
      The government currently predicts carbon prices in the forward estimates will be $29 a tonne in 2015, and has based its expected revenue from the carbon scheme at that price.In recent modelling, the government’s Climate Change Authority instead indicated it expected the Australia carbon price to fall to $10.72 a tonne in 2015, which would blow a multi-billion dollar hole in the government’s revenue forecasts.
      http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/carbon-price-collapse-could-hit-australian-budget-20130417-2hzg1.html

  • Shag_Wevera

    I can’t in my wildest dreams imagine a circumstance where the US congress would pass any carbon tax or cap and trade.  Doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, they just won’t.  Too much money, too many special interests, and an electorate incapable of altruism or self sacrifice.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Are you moving to Scandinavia?  They seem to be what you would term “enlightinged.”

      • Shag_Wevera

        I wish.  Interesting that you react to the characteristics of altruism and self sacrifice with derision.

  • pete18

    Tom Friedman obviously hasn’t read this article in the Economist:

    “OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been
    flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world
    added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between
    2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by
    humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s
    Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, ‘the five-year mean
    global temperature has been flat for a decade.’ ”

    http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    • Gregg Smith

      That’s good news, no one wants to hear that.

    • Jasoturner

      I think there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

      1 – The atmosphere is sufficiently large and inertial that it might well take decades for very serious effects to manifest themselves from all this CO2.  It’s the turning the battleship analogy.

      2 – the science is well established that a significant portion of the emitted CO2 is absorbed in the oceans, where CO2 dissociates and creates carbonic acid.  Most research indicates that ocean acidification could have profound effects on marine life – a lot of which we like to eat.

      In studying differential equations, we learn that changing boundary conditions even slightly can lead to wildly different outcomes over an extended period of time.  Thus, there are mathematical models that can and do predict short term stability but long term chaos.  This is the concern.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Is it really worth adding $1T of new taxes on top of a significantly expanded government during a weak economy for a ‘might’.  Further, there is no scientific evidence that the CO2 reductions proposed will do anything to reverse any climate effects.  Way too many unknowns to be spending this kind of money.

        • Jasoturner

          I wasn’t advocating for a carbon tax.  I was pointing out that counting on the Economist to provide an even handed review of the science might not be prudent.

          By the way, combustion chemistry unambiguously tells us that burning fossil fuels will increase the CO2 levels in the air and the water.  Chemistry also teaches us that the oceans will become increasingly acidic as the CO2 concentration in the water increases.  These are not speculative or unknown concerns.  These are not “mights”.  These are simple facts.  And they will have ramifications for ecosystems that we rely on.  There is already pretty compelling research showing ocean corals’ inability to tolerate increasingly acidic water.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             The $1T was Tom F’s proposal.

             The Economist has been in the warmist journalist camp for a long time so their coverage of the lack of warming is significant and refreshing.

            Regarding the acidification of the ocean, that smells of alarmism but I try to keep an open mind.  From this 2011 study you can see that the magnitude of predicted acidification might not be significant vs. natural variation: “large variations in ocean pH by day, week, and month. Changes in some locations were as high as 0.35 units over the course of a day, higher than computer models are predicting for the next century.”

            http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028983

          • Jasoturner

            Interesting article.  Of course near term fluctuations neither defend nor argue against long term trends, as they seem to acknowledge in the conclusions. 

            The chemistry remains unambiguous.  I don’t think that is alarmist, it’s simply accepting what chemistry tells us.  Indeed, one might call it overly complacent to contend that we can ignore demonstrable chemical reactions because they are occurring in an environment that is currently too complex for us to fully comprehend and/or model.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             I agree the basic chemistry is clear but the sea is a complex buffer and carbonic acid is already major part of the seas natural ecosystem and CO2 is absorbed and released at much higher natural rates (90x) than the man released CO2.

            Also, consider that most sea life evolved when CO2 concentrations were much higher.  I suspect they will adapt to these minor changes in pH.  Perhaps the lower pH is less stressful and they will thrive.

            Also remember that photosynthesis is an process that raises the pH and CO2 is still plant food — even in the sea.

          • Jasoturner

            Your reply merits consideration.  It is a complex system.  Thx.

          • nj_v2

            I can’t wait to hear what NoWorriesNoFacts thinks is a “minor change in pH.”

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Because they don’t support global warming?

          • Jasoturner

            Nope.  Because their expertise is business and finance, not science.

        • nj_v2

          * Bovine Excrement Alert *

          Continuing the forum right-winger trend of basing ill-conceived opinions on s**t they make up, WorriedfortheFacts pulls another one out of his butt.

          [[ on top of a significantly expanded government ]]

          Refutation from Politifact (in the context of calling Paul Ryan a liar for his bogus claims, but the information applies here, too):

          “…CBO concluded that by fiscal year 2012 — the current fiscal year — the president’s budget proposal would increase federal outlays to $3.7 trillion. That’s a 6 percent increase…”

          “…we also looked at the figures for federal outlays as a percentage of gross domestic product. These numbers actually decline from 25.0 percent in fiscal 2009 to 23.6 percent in fiscal 2012, and then moves within a narrow range, ending up at 24.2 percent in fiscal 2021.”

          “Federal employment has never risen by more than 10 percent above its January 2009 level, excluding temporary Census jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…”

          http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/apr/10/paul-ryan/paul-ryan-barack-obama-has-doubled-size-government/

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Yes, a 6% increase is outrageous. But it is worse than that….

            Federal outlays were $2.7T in 2008.  That is MY baseline.  Every increase over 2008 needs to be justified.

            Revenues are now at a record high 2013 and the GDP is now higher than in 2008.

          • nj_v2

            That’s right, pick a starting point that precedes any effect from Obama’s policies.

            More disinformation. 

    • Fredlinskip

      “Tom Friedman obviously hasn’t read this article in the Economist“:
      IF Tom did read this one article in Economist, he would find 23,427 words that could be summarized by the following:
      1) Scientists agree world’s getting warmer, 2) There is cause for concern, & 3) there is disagreement on how many billion tons of carbon in atmosphere will raise temperature by a single degree.
      FASCINATING!

      If Tom also decided to read Wiki “Global Warming Controversy” he would learn:
      1) The finding that climate has warmed in recent decades and human activities are already contributing adversely to global climate change has been endorsed by every national science academy that has issued a statement on climate change, including academies of all major industrialized countries.
      2) Scientists have resolved these questions decisively in favor of  view that current warming trend exists and is ongoing, that *HUMAN ACTIVITY IS PRIMARY CAUSE, and that it is without precedent in at least 2000 years,
      3) Mark Serreze, the director of US National Snow and Ice Data Center, found 2030 “a reasonable estimate” of date the Arctic could lose all of its ice.
        Disputes over key scientific facts of global warming are now more prevalent in popular media than in the scientific literature. Many of the largely settled scientific issues, such as human responsibility for global warming, remain subject of politically or economically motivated attempts to downplay, dismiss or deny them- referred to by academics and scientists as “climate change denial”.   The fact that only half of the American population believe that global warming is caused by human activity could be seen as a victory by these so-called skepticsClimate scientists, especially in US, have reported  official (government) and oil-industry pressure to censor and suppress their work and hide scientific data, with directives not to discuss the subject in public communications In his book The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney has argued that the appearance of overlapping groups of skeptical scientists, commentators and think tanks in seemingly unrelated controversies results from an organized attempt to replace scientific analysis with political ideology. Mooney says that the promotion of doubt regarding issues that are politically, but not scientifically, controversial became increasingly prevalent under the Bush Administration, who regularly distorted and/or suppressed scientific research to further its own political aims.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.bast.90 Leonard Bast

    Ask him how much fossil fuel was burned up by the Iraq War, for which he was one of this nation’s most vocal cheerleaders.

  • Gregg Smith

    “Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men…

    So what to do? We need a more ‘radical center’ — one much more willing to suggest radically new ideas to raise revenues, not the ‘split-the-difference-between-the-same-old-options center.’ And the best place to start is with a carbon tax.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-put-america-back-together-again.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&smid=tw-share&pagewanted=all&

    Hows that for the Emanuel Doctrine?

  • J__o__h__n

    I’m turning the radio off the moment Friedman says “incentivize.”

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Man, I like that non-word.

      I’ll turn it off when Friedman muses on his fantasies of being dictator — ‘but just for a couple years’.

      • J__o__h__n

        I’m glad we are back to disagreeing.  If we start agreeing too much, the terrorists have won. 

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           LOL!

        • nj_v2

          At least it means you need to go in for a check-up.

    • nj_v2

      I’m pre-turning off the radio. The sound of Friedman’s voice makes my skin break out in a rash.

    • J__o__h__n

      10:13.  He didn’t even make it ten min.  Goodbye. 

      • Ray in VT

        Oh, I must have missed that first one.

        • J__o__h__n

          Fortunately, I missed the second one. 

    • Ray in VT

      I just heard it.

  • donniethebrasco

    How do you remove a #FreeJahar tattoo?

  • donniethebrasco

    The key to an effective carbon tax is to make it “Revenue neutral.”

    Any revenues raised through a new carbon tax should be matched with a lowering of other taxes.

    Also, a carbon tax can be used to stabilize gas prices.  Instead of making the gas tax $1.50, you can make it relative to gas prices.  The tax could be $1.50 if gas is $1.50, but if gas were $5/gallon, the tax could be $0.5.

    • J__o__h__n

      Why should it be revenue neutral? 

    • William

       What about Americans, illegals that don’t pay any taxes beyond sales taxes?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        William just wanted to repeat the lie about that “nothing but sales taxes” again. Got it.

  • donniethebrasco

    It is foolish to believe that anything can be done to stop global warming.

    • nj_v2

      It’s foolish to take this handle’s posts seriously.

      • donniethebrasco

         If everyone drives a Prius, we might delay “Global Warming” by 10 years.

        Not stopping, just slowing down.

  • nj_v2

    Friedman’s right about the carbon tax, but he’s been so wrong about so many other things, and there are so many other people who have ongoing involvement and expertise in energy issues who have been advocating for a carbon tax for much longer than Friedman, that it’s disappointing that On Point chose him to make the case.

    • Jasoturner

      He’s got star power…

      • nj_v2

        On Point should be better than that; they should be ahead of the curve. Serious people have been advocating for a carbon tax for a long time.

        Why wait for the Expert Pundit Buffoons (and Friedman leads the pack) to finally catch on, then present them as if they have this great, new idea they came up with all by themselves? It’s insulting to the people who’ve been working for years on these issues and have real expertise.

        The program becomes just another pop-culture echo wall. Very disappointing.

        • Jasoturner

          I wonder if there’s anybody at MIT who might know a little something about stuff like this…

  • MF1987

    Tom Friedman is now banging the drum for a carbon tax.

    Wasn’t Tom Friedman banging the drum for the invasion of Iraq ten years ago?

    Nearly 5,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces were killed, as well as thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, but hey, stuff happens.

    I’m sure that Tom Friedman is going to get it right, this time.

  • Yar

    Why is it we are willing to trade something real, (work) for something that isn’t real (money)?  In the short term, money is real enough, but over time it loses its reality.  It is intended to be a counter for trading work over time.  All the talk of budget cuts, debt, expanding entitlements, a focus on money, clouds the real issue.  We need people doing productive work, not just entertaining us with the newest gadget, app, or sport.  Those forms of distraction have their place but not as the central focus of our economy.  Farming, manufacturing, and resource extraction are the three legs that built our economy.  Every other job sits on the stool supported by these three.  As we spin around on that stool we brag how smart we are.  Well, we aren’t and we are in for some wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Caterpillar is hundreds of times more valuable than Facebook.  Why doesn’t the market show this? We must get back to basics in the economy, not all jobs are created equal.  Jobs that build something which adds to real wealth, (education, improved health, infrastructure) are worth more (even if they increase national debt) than so much of what we call consumer capitalism.  Our economy is so divorced from reality, I doubt we can even have a meaningful discussion.  We should be using our fossil fuels to build something worthwhile, not simply entertaining ourselves.

    Will the factory in Bangladesh that collapsed today get as much attention as the bombings last week? Why is that; are those families not real; is it that we are more interested in crazy than greed?(This rant has been building for some time.)

  • BOBinRSI

    As an American living in France I have a lot to complain about but they got it right with $8.00/gallon gas. The roads are great, bridges are art, the cars are small. Also, at $8.00 trains become an attractive alternative to the car and twice as fast city to city.

    So many woes can be solved by a heavy gas tax. Less war with oil rich nations, more taxes directed towards schools and healthcare (instead of paying for bridge repair etc.), less CO2…..

    Best of all the costs of driving a car are placed with the driver as I think it should be. At $8.00/gallon France still gets around.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:
    Only in Obamaworld can tripled energy costs be considered efficiency.

    Moniz acknowledged that such a cost-raising mechanism is not very progressive. “I think it’s very important that any funds associated with that be recycled efficiently to productive uses and to address distributional questions, because some — the poor — may get hit harder than others,” he added. “So, it’s a lot of work to do there. But I think, in the end, if you take one simple thing, that’s the direction that I think we should go in.”

    http://www.jammiewf.com/2013/obama-energy-nominee-we-need-a-carbon-tax-to-triple-the-cost-of-energy-or-something/

  • MF1987

    Look for Tom Friedman’s next book to advocate for a tax being levied on every American for all the harmful carbon dioxide that they exhale into the air.

    Then look for Tom Ashbrook and his crew at On Point to immediately schedule Tom Friedman on for an entire hour so that Friedman can make his case why every American deserves to have a carbon dioxide tax levied on them.

    • donniethebrasco

       You use more carbon biking to work than driving your car.

    • nj_v2

      There’s plenty of time left, but i wouldn’t be surprised if this remains the stupidest thing posted today.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        You haven’t read DonnieTB’s stuff about exhaling? See right below.

        • nj_v2

          Yes, the competition has intensified since i posted that. It’s a real contest, now.

  • http://twitter.com/Mithrandir48 Jeff A

    What an awful idea, I can’t think of anything that would do more to stifle business, cause businesses to leave the country and to destroy industries (like the natural gas industry that just got up and running within the last few years) than to increase the cost of energy (carbon tax).

    • nj_v2

      People have such short-sighted views.

      What do you think is going to happen to businesses (and everybody else) when the carbon fuel bubble bursts and energy prices begin an inexorable rise in energy prices? Natural gas is just another bubble. There’s only a few decades’ supply.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Peak oil??  LOL.

        • nj_v2

          RWB’s comments?? LOL.

        • http://twitter.com/Mithrandir48 Jeff A

          As we get nearer to peak oil that would have the same effect as the carbon tax, that’s why the idea of an additional carbon tax is laughable.

    • sickofthechit

       Where are you going to get clean water to drink when they use countless millions of gallons missing their poison fracking fluid then inject it back in the ground as hazardous waste after the gas comes out? charles a. bowsher

      • http://twitter.com/Mithrandir48 Jeff A

        I live in Minnesota, we have lakes and the Mississippi river…we have plenty of water here.

  • wauch

    A carbon tax is not Tom Friedman’s idea although like everything else he does/says he frames it as if it is.
    Pacala and Socolow spoke to eat with their climate wedge” concept.
    Similar ideas have been forwarded by scientists for many years at conferences like the American Geophysical Union’s annual get together in San Francisco etc etc.
    Friedman should plow some of this insane speaking fees into these ideas.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      We can agree that Mr. Friedman is a shameless self promoter. 

      • wauch

         We can and everyone else would benefit from seeing why we feel this way!

  • Markus6

    Two things: I doubt it will matter if we implement a carbon tax. And I doubt that Tom Friedman knows how much it will matter. Anything we do to reduce emissions will be dwarfed by what’s going on in India, China and other areas. That’s a guess, but I haven’t seen better data.

    Second is does anyone trust the people in Washington to handle our money better than they have in the past? How naive can we be?

  • sickofthechit

    Quit calling it a carbon tax.  It is simply recognition that the actual cost of burning fossil fuels is not in the current formulas.  When will coal pay the cost of the lost forests that have been blasted away?  The waterways that we can no longer eat fish from?  The mountain children with asthma whose school is located to close to a coal washing facility?  When will fracking pay the cost of permanently poisoning the water they mix all their fracking fluids in?  When will BP pay the full cost of the long term damage to the Gulf’s ecosystem?  So no, this is not a carbon tax, this is recognition of the approximate actual cost of using poison on a widespread basis. Charles A. Bowsher

    • northeaster17

      When will the price of gasoline reflect the cost of the military that allows it to flow as it does. Once we factor these and costs you mention, the so called alternetive fuels look much more attractive. If and when that happens all that fossil gold in the ground looses much of its value. The great economic and military powers can’t let that happen. Change ain’t happening soon

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      It is a tax. 
      It is a tax on everything evryone does. 
      It is the most regresive tax immaginable.  

  • donniethebrasco

    Nothing about being a free society that discourages family wealth living in perpetuity?

    This is complete ivory tower thinking.  Tom Friedman is the tail trying to wag the dog.

    Freedom and capitalism creates the wealth that allows there to be excess to reduce poverty.

    Tom Friedman and the left still needs there to be victims and poverty in order to believe that the government is the source of wealth instead of the friction that the economy survives despite its reduction of wealth and freedom.

  • Scott B

    Let’s have the Treasury mint that hypothesized “Trillion Dollar Coin”, but not for paying down the debt, but for when Rep Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Mr. Friedman are suggesting: Nothing but fixing America – The crumbling infrastructure, getting the internet out of the basement where 80% of the US doesn’t have high-speed access, aiding companies (especially small business) to go green, college education and job training for people…

    • StilllHere

      What gas station is going to take a trillion dollar coin?

  • donniethebrasco

    Does this mean that you will have to tax bicycles and shoes.  You create more carbon biking or walking to work than you do driving.

    • DeJay79

       according to that Representative from Oregon. I have an email from him where he explains how wrong he was to say that, lol

      • donniethebrasco

         If you include the carbon footprint of making the car, you are right.

        But if you assume that the car is a sunk cost (the car exists already), it creates more carbon for 4 people to bike 10 miles than for them to drive 10 miles.

        • DeJay79

           Still wrong because your body does not “create” carbon it only release carbon out that it took in (in one form or another) where as any that is released from fossil fuel was, at one time, in the atmosphere but has long since been stored as coal or oil.

          As a living carbon based life form we are part of the natural cycle of carbon and oxygen in our atmosphere but these fossil fuel burning machines that we have made are not part of that cycle, they change the way our atmosphere works.

      • donniethebrasco

         What biking does to reduce carbon emissions is that people don’t go as far with bicycles than they do with cars.

    • nj_v2

      ^ Donnie enters the fray in the Dummest Post of the Day competition.

  • Anthony Austin

    Simple question…How will taxing Americans more help our economy when “all of our politicians” are already wasting the multitude of taxes that are extracted from us now at every level of government…Simple answer please?  We need “real tax reform” rather than another tax.

  • donniethebrasco

     If everyone drives a Prius, we might delay “Global Warming” by 10 years.

    Not stopping, just slowing down.
     

    • sickofthechit

       In thirty years or less we will wish we had delayed it by 10 years….

  • MarkVII88

    This carbon tax will hit all the wealthier individuals and corporations that an overwhelming majority of voters support, but it does have the distinctly negative aspect of being incredibly regressive at the same time.

  • DeJay79

    Yes Yes Yes! we should have done this 10 years ago!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1533378781 Neil Vigliotta

    He’s been calling for this for years.  And he’s right.  Its something we HAVE to do!  Please listen to this man.  He’s been pointing out our problems since 2002 and he’s been right every step of the way.

  • donniethebrasco

    Liberals have never met a tax they didn’t like.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    How would this not hurt the middle class?
    How this would not reduce the tax burden on the wealthy?
    How would this not promote the concentration of wealth with the wealthy?

    • StilllHere

      The wealthy drive gas-guzzln Bentleys during the week and Ferraris on weekends.  They will pay more.  The rest of us take the bus.

  • RolloMartins

    Yes we need a carbon tax, as the GOP states (to dissuade us from petroleum resources) but we are not revenue constrained. I love Friedman–smart, good man–but doesn’t he know that?

  • jhlangerman

    I could not be more thrilled to hear Tom Friedman support a carbon tax.  Right here in Massachusetts, a ballot question committee was just formed – the Committee for a Green Economy – which will be placing an initiative on the 2014 ballot for a revenue-neutral carbon tax based on British Columbia’s successful model.  Similar initiatives are underway in Oregon and Washington state.  If our national leaders won’t move on this issue, we citizens will take the lead. – Jessica Langerman, Wellesley

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Stop the insanity.

      MA already has among the highest energy costs in the country.  Low energy costs equates to prosperity.  Higher energy costs equate to lost jobs.

      We already have the corrupt Cape Wind contract that guarantees 3X market rate wind power at a cost of $Billions to rate payers over  20 years.

      I read in yesterday’s paper that some nuts in the legislature are attempting to ban plastic bags.

      You have to stop now.  You are destroying our state.

      MA trading carbon is nonsense and won’t have any effect on the environment.

      If you are concerned about carbon then you should lobby for more hydro from Quebec or completing the second Seabrook reactor.  Think of that — a GW of carbon free power on a site that already has been approved for a license.

      • sickofthechit

         Who pays the cost of thousands of years of storage for the spent fuel rods of Seabrook and all the other nuclear reactors around the country?  Certainly not the current rate payers.  I think it would be your future generations republicans always like to claim they are looking out for.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Wrong.  It is already built into the cost and there is new technology coming on line to use spent fuel as fuel since 97% of energy remains in the spent fuel.

          In the mean time dry cask storage works just fine.

  • Southern_Harebell

    Fine, add a carbon tax.  But how about making large corporations actually pay the taxes they owe?  GE is widely believed to pay no corporate income tax, nor do other large corporations.

    I pay lots of income tax on a modest income.  How is that fair?  Individuals pay an Alternative Minimum Tax.  Why not corporations?

  • donniethebrasco

     College enrollment and participation will be going down over the next 20 years.

    College spending is out of control and government support for it is the reason why no one can afford it.

    The cost of a college degree needs to go down and spending more money for college will not do this.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    He said it:  ‘incentivize’.

    Bye bye J_o_h_n 
    Have a good one.

  • donniethebrasco

    Who listens to this fool who promotes ideas that hurt the economy and don’t work.

  • Scott B

    It might be better as a set tax, rather than per dollar. No one is going to complain much if the gas pump just scrolled to 25 cents, vs per gallon. Same for heating bills, etc. $100 elect bill, add a dollar.  The thing is making the American public be assured where the money is going. That it’s not more corporate welfare, or a slush fund, or going to pork barrel projects. T

  • donniethebrasco

     Does that mean I can deduct my spending on gas tax from my income taxes?

  • MF1987

    Hey Tom,

    please ask your esteemed guest, Mr. Friedman, if he feels a alimentary canal (flatulence) tax, could help save the environment.

    • donniethebrasco

       What about a tax on the s*** coming out of Tom Friedman’s mouth?

    • nj_v2

      Okay, i admit it, i was wrong. MF1987′s earlier comment is no longer the stupidest comment of the day. They just outdid themself.

    • Ray in VT

      Taco Bell’s stock would fall the moment that it was proposed.

  • bethrjacobs

    can any one say CIA is here to stay at the New York Times what a bs artist

  • sickofthechit

    Thomas Friedman, sorry but Natural gas via fracking is not a good thing,  Each well poisons hundreds of thousands of gallons of clean water for its fracking fluid and there are tens of thousands of these wells, and tens of thousands still to come.  Something like two percent of the water on earth is drinkable.  Seems like insanity to me to permanently render clean water dirty just for cheaper energy. charles a. bowsher

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB
    • adks12020

      He did mention that natural gas is great but only as a bridge to a cleaner energy future.  Personally, as a New Yorker, I’m happy we still have a moratorium on drilling here because I don’t support more natural gas drilling. I think we have already tapped plenty to bridge us to the next energy source.

      I’m with Mr. Friedman on some things and against him on others and I find it’s easier to make those decisions when I actually listen to what he says.

  • donniethebrasco

    Maybe they can use the tax to pay off Obama’s donators?

    I mean, to fund Solyndra.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Sometimes we have “models” that are strong and successful but build that splendor off the health and well-being of others.  This can be true of individuals, communities, nations.  The United States is less and less seen as exemplifying the values we sometimes voice.  The price of capitalism has seemed to be the growing scorn of a lot of the world and huge risk to the planet. 

        How could we NOT try to do what Friedman suggests.  It’s time.

  • bethrjacobs
  • bethrjacobs

    hey hey hey the CIA is here to stay

  • bethrjacobs

    his ideology failed with the lower classes not being able to
    afford collage or anything else the Pell  grant is a cruel joke not enough to do
    anything just a tease and the same with his stupid “rebate” .The bottom line is
    the rich will still use more filthy carbon and the lower classes will pay for
    it

  • K C

    Mr Friedman’s economic ideas – profits above all else – all the profits and none of the responsibility – are the very same economic ideas and policies that caused the worst economic crash in decades, if not more.

    We need to make serious changes, for sure and we need to focus on protecting our environment – but Friedman’s ideas are just more of the same – lets cut Social security – that has NOTHING to do with the debt oh and make low to moderate income people have to pay more to drive to work, heat their homes and feed their families. Because it’s so much better then asking wall street to step up to the plate or make oil and gas companies actually do things in a responsible manner.

  • JerryRJ

    This gas tax sounds regressive and it is being pushed by a conservative.  No surprise there.  We have a $15Trillion economy and corporate taxes amount to what – about $100Billion?  That’s less than 1% of the GDP.

    • donniethebrasco

       Tom Friedman is NOT a conservative.  He is a tax happy, free government spending liberal.

      How can he think that spending for colleges (investing in our future through education) makes any sense when the colleges are spending money like a drunken sailor.

  • Erica Blair

    Rather than thinking of new ways to tax the worker bees who drive the capitalist economy in our nation, why aren’t these pundits describing how to put the “ivory tower hoodlums” in NYC into federal prison for the trillions that they have gobbled up from M1 with their derivatives and other schemes to steal from the folks like you and I? On Wall St. what has happened in 2008 and before that in 2000 [and in 1929] is called “fleecing the flock.”

     These crimianls call us sheep and we just roll over to have them shear our other side. The capital that they have taken out of the money supply and tucked into Swiss banks should be put back into the system and those truely greedy con men should never be allowed to know freedom again. I dream of this knowing that it is but a dream…

  • NewtonWhale

    Is there no price to be paid by pundits for being proven wrong?

    I don’t mean your garden variety “I picked the Pats over the Giants–twice” kind of wrong. I’m talking egregiously, horrifically, soul searingly wrong. I’m talking the specific kind of wrong that appears to have motivated the Marathon bombers.

    This is Tom Friedman’s explanation for why he supported the Iraq War:

    Friedman: What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?” You don’t think, you know we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This. That Charlie is what this war is about. We could of hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. Could of hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.

    Watch for yourself, and marvel along with me that anyone still cares what Tom Friedman thinks:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwFaSpca_3Q

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Hey, there’s more accountability on ESPN for picking the Super Bowl wrong, or touting a draft pick who then busts, than our mainstream yakker shows have.

  • bethrjacobs

    Denmark has huge social welfare programs

  • http://twitter.com/Mithrandir48 Jeff A

    I’ve been to Denmark, sure they have lots of alternative energy there…I even toured the Vestas wind power plant and took a plane ride to see the off shore wind farms (west coast).  They have a completely different style of life there, if you would like $8 bottles of beer, 50% tax rates (for the average citizen) and lower incomes then great, Denmark is your country.  You can’t afford a car (everyone rides bikes in Copenhagen) and you won’t be able to afford a house until you’re in your 40′s and you’ve been living in an apartment for 15-20 years of your life.

    The idea that we can “force” innovation is naive; the resources will simply move around the world…carbon taxes here makes fossil fuels more likely end up in another country which doesn’t reduce the use of those fuels.  In fact, the real innovation will happen when fossil fuels increase in price…this cannot be forced to occur, it will and does happen naturally as a resource becomes scarce.  Trying to impose a carbon tax in the US would simply shift resources around the world and put the US at an energy disadvantage. I’m surprised such a famous economist doesn’t bother to consider the unintended consequences of such a massive tax on every person in this country.

    • donniethebrasco

       You are completely correct!

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.millman.37 Peter Millman

    Climate change is coming…you can pay me now or pay me later. This is a great idea!

    • donniethebrasco

       And it can’t be stopped.

      Maybe slowed, but not significantly.

  • Scott B

    The Model T got 15C/22H MPG. In the early 2000′s the average car was getting 17C/25H, with over 100 years of engineering.   Most cars now are getting in the mid-to-high 20′s in the city and exceeding 30, even 40 MPG highway, and they’re selling more than ever.  Until the US government upped the standards, because of the spike in oil prices, Big Oil and auto makers saw no need to change. The all cried what Iaccoca cried, that it would bankrupt them. But the people saw the results in their wallet of spending now and saving more later, sometime immediately. 

    • Steve_the_Repoman

      A thought that I have been contemplating recently:

           Do we go to war to insure the free flow of oil?

           or
          
           Do we go to war to insure that oil companies
           control the price of the oil?

      Further, when taking into account current lifestyles and potential costs…

      Are there unbiased studies that attempt to analyze hidden/total costs?

  • AC

    i missed most of this, but the intro makes it sound like a good idea. can someone sum up quickly the pros & cons that have been discussed?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       $1.2T in new taxes during a weak economy on top of a 6% increase in the size of the Federal government — all to pay for TomF’s favorite projects.  What could go wrong?

    • bethrjacobs

      you will not be able to afford it

      • AC

        i don’t know. things always seem to cost more after being put off…there must be a balance point. what little i heard makes sense…..& our infrastructure is crumbling….

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoeyCorrao Joe Corrao

    I was thinking maybe I could write a well thought out comment, but instead I’ll just say T Friedman is a jackass

  • abuya

    A correction – Tom Friedman is trying to confuse us and make political points by saying that the latest push for EMR and computerization in healthcare is a result of Obama care – it is not, it is the result of the stimulus package, and specifically the “meaningful use” requirements in the stimulus bill, it is not related to Obama care.

  • kokkonobi

    I remember a couple of years ago hearing a Chrysler executive bemoaning on two different radio programs that the push towards higher MPG and the trend to electric cars is too difficult and expensive.  He said we would just be trading foreign oil with foreign batteries.  Well of course.  If we hadn’t dropped the ball on battery technology three decades ago, we would be the leader in this field. 

     Same thing with solar power.  Remember Jimmy Carter put panels on the White House and Reagan ripped them off.  What message does that send to innovators?  We could have been the absolute leader in that technology. 

    Ideology leads to shortsightedness leads to technological stagnation.

    All because conservatives labeled energy efficiency and technologies as treehugging liberal claptrap.

    • donniethebrasco

       Do you have any idea how more expensive alternative energy is?

      Cape Wind will cost $5/kwh and you have to pay it.  That means that your electric bill will be $500/month.

      If you cut your usage by 75%, it will be $400/month because they need to pay for the investment into stupid windmills.

      The modern day Don Quixote.  Instead of tilting at windmills, they are building them.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        I’d ask if you have any idea how much of my tax money goes to extractive energy. But I don’t think you care to face how subsidized that is.

      • sickofthechit

         If you cut your energy usage by 75% your $500 electric bill will only be $125.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      “Chrysler bemoaning” is almost a steady-state, isn’t it?

      I mean, there’s just something about the Big Three (and I mean only them–not the whole auto industry) which can’t just stop piffing and moaning about the 1970s*. They made tons of mistakes on free-rein in the 50s and 60s, 80s and 90s. Science–much of it not auto-industry-based–has made incredible advances since then, so that a boring crossover today gives you pony-car acceleration and pickup truck’s payload with a luxury car’s ride and a sportscar’s handling. Plus Bluetooth!

      (*And it seems to go through almost the entire motoring press.)

      • sickofthechit

         Please don’t lump Ford in with BM, I mean GM and Chrysler.  Ford did not need bailout funds, remember.  charles a. bowsher

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Yeah, but I’m going back, before the bailout, on this.

          For one well-known example, Ford decided the money in X number of deaths from an easily corrected design flaw in the Pinto was sufferable, but the greater amount Y to design a better-protected gas tank was not.

    • sickofthechit

       As my Eric Cartman T-shirt declares-
       ”It’s all a bunch of tree-hugging hippie crap!”

  • WorriedfortheCountry

     TomF is implying his carbon tax will stop hurricanes?

    Stop the insanity.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “If (anything) is such a good idea, why hasn’t a newly elected Democratic president stumped for it?”

    Tom, 60 is the new 51. This is background information. Anything President Obama wants out of Congress now, even if it was something Republicans ran on two years ago is now filibustered and/or “evil”.

    Some gobstopper in the GOP would filibuster ice water if the entire Senate were stuck in the middle of Death Valley.

    • sickofthechit

       thank you for that little bit of fantasy….

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Thanks, but SPOILER ALERT! I ripped it off from this silent movie classic.

  • Gourdbanjo

    In 1993, Al Gore proposed substituting a carbon tax for the payroll tax. The idea was to tax what we don’t want instead of what we do want (employment). It was a good idea then and it’s a good idea now. But the Republican Party is 100% owned by the fossil fuel industry, and the Democratic Party is about 90% owned by them.

    • donniethebrasco

       Good idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoeyCorrao Joe Corrao

    he is re-confirming by the second

  • bethrjacobs

    well I have a huge tax increase and Obama wouldn’t inspect BP in the first place only a CIA person would think like this gee the NY Times used to run cover for the  CIA I think it is back
     
    http://www.cpj.org/attacks96/sreports/cia.html

  • MarkVII88

    Tommy the truck-driver makes a good point about “doing without”.  In terms of our social welfare spending both at the federal and state level, we can’t seem to make up our minds about whether we’re committed to supporting those in need or not.  There are cost-shifts that benefit some low-income Americans at the expense of others. Many people think it’s the right thing to help those in need but when it comes time to pay for it, they want someone else to foot the bill. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it too.  We as a nation (and at the state level too) need to make up our minds and follow through about whether we are willing to cut off a portion of our population from receiving benefits or not. As an example of the draw on working taxpayer, I mention continually increased spending on special supports for kids in school. In my school district in VT, student enrollment has been on the decline over the last decade but spending on special services has been growing year over year b/c of the number of special needs kids and the severity of the issues they experience. This is a concrete local example of paying more in taxes to support fewer students due to a social welfare agenda.  I’m not saying I would necessarily support the decision to withdraw social spending or not, but if some harsh decisions need to be made some of these people will, by necessity, be on the chopping block.

    • sickofthechit

       You don’t have to cut them off.  We just need to have them doing something in exchange for their benefits, even if it is sweeping the streets or picking up trash.  Everybody works, everybody earns their place. charles a. bowsher

      • MarkVII88

         I don’t disagree with you by any means.  But, for the moment, I’ll play devil’s advocate and say that your idea would be demeaning to those receiving benefits.  I could easily see someone making the argument that putting those on benefits to work doing the things you propose would be the equivalent of making them wear some kind of scarlet letter. 

  • donniethebrasco

    I am a retired 75 year old.  I get my government check every month.  I live in a $200/month apartment and eat tea and toast.

    A carbon tax would not effect me at all, so I am all for it.

  • donniethebrasco

    Me Tarzan.

    Tax Good
    Business Bad

  • creaker

    Carbon tax is only good if the money from the tax goes toward offsetting the externalized costs of energy production. Otherwise it’s just stealing money to give to someone else instead of addressing the problem the money was collected for.

    • donniethebrasco

       It sounds like you studied during Economics class.

      Gas Tax pays for:

      Roads
      War in Iraq/Afghanistan

  • donniethebrasco

    China is building cities with NO PEOPLE.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Duncan-Brown/100000783993065 Duncan Brown

      So? We do the same with schools, hospitals, universities, homes, malls, and a monotonous number of other things; yet they all become inhabited.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Duncan-Brown/100000783993065 Duncan Brown

    Both Toms – Ashbrook and Friedman – are quickly moving from being pundits, to old pundits, and now insufferably old pundits.  Time to go out to pasture blue-bloods.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      A vote to bring back Christopher Lydon or, Dick Gordon!

  • Jim

    didn’t this guy support the iraq war in 2003? why would we need him on the air… he lost all credibility.

  • http://twitter.com/Mithrandir48 Jeff A

    So the low cost solar panels from China has to do with a carbon tax that hasn’t been enacted yet?  This guy is talking out both sides of his mouth.  It’s the low cost Chinese labor along with the low cost materials…that’s why they out compete us in creating solar panels in China.

    • sickofthechit

       Plus they know if they go in cheap they can dominate the market.

  • Jim

    shut up warmonger.

  • sickofthechit

    We, the people of earth live on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere.  If we continue to screw this place up the future for coming generations is bleak.  Sustainability is the key, period. charles a. bowsher

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Not true.  

      • 1Brett1

        Sustainability is not the key? Are there unlimited natural resources? 

        Which part that you were responding to was not true?

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Are you worried that we will sit in the dark because we don’t have enough whaling ships?  
          We are surround by so much natural wealth we can not calculate it.  New technologies are expanding our horizons.  

          • 1Brett1

            So, natural resources are veritably infinite?

            Yeah, farmers thought that about the Northern Plains at the beginning of the 20th century, loggers thought that about old-growth forests…on and on.

            New technologies are expanding our horizons, yes, but at a rate to keep pace with our consumption of natural resources?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Are you being deliberately obtuse? Haven’t ALL the calamities predicted by Prof Ehrlich failed to materialize? Only if we give up on innovation and striving are we doomed. Quite literally the stars are the limit, and maybe not even them.

            http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/defusing-population-bomb

          • 1Brett1

            Obtuse? Prof. Ehrlich? Stars are the limit? Possibly not even them? As long as we “strive”? “Innovate”? Wha? um…? …hmmm? You, th, er, bu…?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            lol.

          • mozartman

            prof Ehrlich was right, but got the dates a little wrong.  But we see the effects already. But sticking your head into the sand is one way to live a happy live. 

            Quoting Cato on that issue is like asking the Nazis what they think about Israel. You know the answer before you even get it.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB
          • nj_v2

            RWB’s world of fantastic Libertarianism finds its  analogue in techo fantasy.

            It’s telling that hack ideologues like RWB post right-wing political sites like Cato rather than established science sources when the subject is ecology.

            Ehrlich’s predictions were only wrong on the timing.

            We’ve burned through roughly half of the available fossil fuels, upon which the entire industrial world has been based.

            The failings of industrial agriculture are becoming more manifest every year—pesticide resistant weeds and insects fro overreliance on synthetic materials, depleted soils, dangerous narrowing of crop varieties…

            On the brink of mass species extinctions.

            Major ocean fisheries in decline or collapse.

            Unregulated, mass experiment in progress of genetically engineered organisms being released into the general environment.

            World-wide climate disruption—coastal flooding from rising oceans, water shortages from changing rainfall patterns and lack of glacial snowmelt, droughts…

            No problem according the right wing hacks.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            It’s telling that you claim to be on the side of science while quoting every discredited crackpot luddite theory of the last fifty years. Do you believe that the moon landings faked? Do you believe our earth is flat? Are you still looking for phlogiston? If it was fiction it could be humorous, but because others share your beliefs it is truly tragic.

          • nj_v2

            Stunning ignorance. How embarrassing for you.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    TomF loves Obamacare.

    That says it all.

    QED

    Fini!

  • bethrjacobs
  • BHA_in_Vermont

    China’s MPG mandate:
    2015 – 34 MPG
    2020 – 47 MPG

    • donniethebrasco

       Yeah.

      They also have a mandate of 1 child per person.  The only way they can enforce that is through a bureaucracy of 250,000 people.

      I’ll believe that they achieve these mandates when I see them.

    • bethrjacobs

      yes but they have millions of poor starving people who literally are dying of malnutrition  and can’t afford food let alone a car we can not afford a carbon tax Thom sounds an awful lot like  is a CIA prankster trouble maker you and I  can not afford the carbon tax and the rich who pollute the most will not be curtailed by it the industry and government will not willingly go back to making small affordable cars that do not pollute either.

  • IowaGerry

    You go, Tom Friedman. I’m going to work to elect “green” candidates to Congress.

    • Chris Smith

      More taxes.  wow… that is going to solve all of our problems.  

      How about spending cuts!!!  Work to elect candidates who want to cut spending in Washington!!!!

  • RonShirtz

    Carbon tax is no different than priests selling indulgences during the Middle Ages to absolve sins. No amount of money, even if reinvested in clean-up projects or green energy alternatives, is going to compensate for the pollution done by the company. Al Gore and his fellow greenies will still own their big carbon footprint Mac-Mansions and chauffeured low MPG limos.

    Just another step closer to putting a tax on breathing

    • nj_v2

      The umteenth post today from people who were out drinking behind the school during their sciences classes that equates daylighting millions-of-years-old, ancient, previously sequestered carbon with biosphere carbon that simply recirculates.

      Sad.

      • RonShirtz

        Whatever meaning you were trying to convey with your obtuse reply to me, at least understand that I neither ditched my science classes, nor drink.

        • nj_v2

          Then you need some other excuse for your ignorance.

  • donniethebrasco

    Solar panel work when there are free batteries and gas costs $15.00 a gallon.

    The takeaway:

    If the Democrats are reelected, live somewhere where you can bike to work.

  • Runningdeer6566

    Okay. I will write my Representatives and Congressman and President Obama.  I’ve waited for a peak at a direction, any direction but a bold direction is what we need as a country. It makes absolute sense.  Thank you!

  • 1Brett1

    To those who believe as humans we don’t/can’t influence climatic events, both undesirably and undesirably, look at the Dust Bowl phenomenon of the ’30s. It is a great microcosmic example of anthropogenic effects that resulted in disaster and human ingenuity that prompted solutions.

    I’ve been fascinated by this part of our 20th century history for years, but here’s a good mainstream documentary on the subject for those who haven’t looked into it:

    http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/about/overview/

    • Steve_the_Repoman

      My wife, who is from Sweden, is always perplexed by why I turn washed drinking glasses upside down inside of clean kichen cabinets.

      Answer:

      Grandmother from Oklahoma.

  • Chris Smith

    New taxes.  Wow.  That’s original.  How about we create a discussion around New spending cuts.  

    Why is the answer to all of our nations problem to create a new tax on someone?  

    Tell Washington to STOP SPENDING!!!

    And leave my guns and bullets alone Tom!

    • Mattyster

       Do you people complaining about your high taxes actually have any idea how your current taxes compare to the past?  Taxes are lower now than they’ve been in decades – but that doesn’t seem to matter.  It’s like border security – no matter how secure the borders are it still makes a great talking point to say they’re not secure enough.  Never mind the actual facts.

  • sommy88

    Tom, I enjoy the show,
    re today’s topic, more taxes on the citizens, austerity, or downsizing government are not good answers to the global  economic problem.  The answer is to ‘incent’ corporations to move their manufacturing back to first world developed nations. 
      I heard one corporate leader this morning say.. “we’re international, we have options..” ie we’ll just go and make it somewhere else if you put carbon taxes in place…
     Yes, and the developed nations have options as well.  It’s time the developed nations acted in concert and charged manufacturers something for entry to our markets.  And until that is done, you can tax the bygolly out of citizens, the economy won’t right itself.  The NOrth American market is the richest market in the world, per capita.
     The only reason the corporations are raking in such huge profits is because we are allowing them Free access to our markets.  They have to date pretty well decimated manufacturing in the developed nations.   
     Free trade has created a very unbalanced playing field in this world, and your manufacturing guy, who said ‘we have options’ hits the nail on the head.  They’ve been allowed to set up shop anywhere, and send goods into developed countries at great profit, and with dire consequences for the economies of those countries.
     The Crash in 08 is directly a result of free trade, I don’t know why nobody talks about that on your show, or maybe they do, I”ve heard some of your shows, not all.   Put simply, as incomes went down, people became more and more stretched, neededd more credit, and banks, government kept extending further and lower credit, to keep the ball rolling, but the crash was inevitable.  It is not a global recession Tom, was not..  It was a redistribution, and it continues. 
     The net effect is redistributing global wealth into the hands of few corporations…..  The wealthy societies will come to look more like the poorer societies on the planet as a result.  Simply averaging out the economy of the world, with free trade
    should  lead you to that conclusion. 
      It is time Tom, that the developed nations of the world began to charge for access to their markets.  Perhaps a tax equal to the tax loss due to unemployment would be a start. 
     

     Thre should also be a charge when corporations use ‘offshore’ phone personnel as well…. but that’s a whole new kettle of fish.   
     

  • Chris Smith
    • twenty_niner

      The original tax holiday for online retailers back in the 90s was meant as a short-term helping hand to a then, nascent industry, which is now worth hundreds of billions of dollars. I think: mission accomplished, and we can let all retail both online and offline compete on a level playing field.

      • William

         If we are talking global warming then it makes sense to get people to shop online and eliminate more local shops. Why have more cars on the road?

        • twenty_niner

          And under the law, you still will be perfectly free to buy online.

  • Guest

    Carbon taxes will only hurt the middle class and working poor.

  • Steve_the_Repoman

    Thomas Friedman is to economics as

    Milton Berle is to women’s fashion

    It may be initially funny but it gets ugly fast.

  • Barbara Miller

    Whether or not it is a carbon tax, a cap on carbon is absolutely necessary. I like Dr. James Hansen’s idea of a cap and dividend that would go to citizens and reward our choices toward efficiency and lowering our carbon footprint, as well as make industry pay for dumping carbon into our atmosphere.

    Some comments seem to ignore the reason a cap on carbon is necessary: some of these excellent programs and short films may be worth a thousand words:

    Do the Math – The Movie:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IsIfokifwSo

    National Geographic: Six Degrees Could Change the World
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKo4TSq40l0

    National Geographic: Extreme Ice
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgQ8Et-GBsQ

    Wake Up, Freak Out – Then Get a Grip
    http://vimeo.com/1709110

     

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Barbara you can post as many propaganda films as you’d like but it doesn’t change the science.  Climate science is in its infancy and certainly isn’t settled.

      btw – science tells us that CO2 is plant food so feel free to exhale away. The plants thank you.

      • Trond33

        Climate science is only not settled for the fanatical fringes – scientists, experts and the majority of the public agree, we have and continue to dramatically change our climate. 

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Uh, no we haven’t.  Even the climate scientists who are ‘alarmed’ and pseudo-scientists don’t claim that we’ve ‘dramatically’ changed the climate.

          • Fredlinskip

            See:
            1) Increasing rate of extinction of species.
            2) melting ice caps.
            3) increase of frequency of  weather-related catastrophe
            4) Deminishing coral reefs worldwide

            See if you can connect dots.
            See definition of “closed mind”- as in one’s refusal to acknowledge facts in the face of overwhelming evidence contrary to their opinions.

            If you want to worry about something, why not do so about something relevant.

            Let’s not be participants in destruction of our planet if other options exist.

      • Eliza_Bee

        Worried, if you are truly
        worried for our country and not just blowing smoke, read this short booklet,
        which lays out the evidence very clearly in less than 20 pages.

         

        http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/more-resources-on-climate-change/climate-change-lines-of-evidence-booklet/

         

         To sum up: “In the case of climate change, scientists have
        understood for more than a century that emissions from the burning of fossil
        fuels could lead to increases in the Earth’s average surface temperature.
        Decades of research have confirmed and extended this understanding.”

         

        • Barbara Miller

          Eliza_Bee–Thank you so much for sharing this excellent booklet, “Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices (by the highly respected National Research Council of the National Academies). The link above goes to a page that allows readers to download a PDF to read later and/or pass along to others.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Thank you Eliza.  Unfortunately, this glossy brochure is just that.  A glossy brochure.

          If you are interested here is  the view from a ‘peer reviewed’ real climate researcher from MIT on how the science has been corrupted.  There is much more work to be done.

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_News_BlogsModule

        • Tyranipocrit

           worried for himself only cares about one thing–the bible!

      • Roy-in-Boise

        You were a STEM major. T/F?

      • mozartman

        Why don’t you change your moniker to “happystickingmyheadintothesand.” Climate science is not in its infancy and the science is pretty much settled.  I just love it when non-experts berate the experts and say they are wrong.  If you have a PhD in climate science, then you have some authority, otherwise, you are just spouting ideology and not science.  People often mix the two up.

        Sure, there are some scientists who say otherwise  but if 9.5 out of 10 doctors tell me that I have cancer, I probably have it.  Do you go to quacks to get treated or to doctors?  

        yes, plants take up CO2, you got that right Mr. Scientist.  You paid attention in BIO 101.  But there is plenty of it in the air already for all the plants.  We are talking about carbon that has been buried for tens or hundreds of millions of years.  Plants don’t need that extra carbon, especially not when we deforest the planet and deserts grow everywhere.  So please, read a real scientist and not just say what Rush L tells you to say. 

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Sorry mozartman but I am all about the science.

          I see a science field in its infancy and also tainted with corruption by a cabal of a few individuals.

          Regarding ‘real’ scientists, I’ll head the words of Freeman Dyson before Michael ( hockey stick) Mann any day.

          http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/2013/04/climatologists_are_no_einstein.html

          Did you know that Mann’s statistical techniques were so flawed that they generated hockey stick results when spectral noise was provided as input instead of the climate data?

          http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-death-of-the-hockey-stick/?singlepage=true

          btw, Did you know that the planet is a lot greener today than 30 years ago based on accurate satellite data?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-nsU_DaIZE

          • Mattyster

            Dear ‘Worried’, You may not believe in actual facts but that doesn’t change that they’re true.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             I believe in facts and the scientific method.  Not propaganda. 

          • nj_v2

            That’s laughable. You’ve been called out posting bogus “facts” almost every day. 

          • Mattyster

             No, you don’t. You believe in propaganda masquerading science.

          • Tyranipocrit

            but you dont see your point of view tainted by big oil and coal?  Wow, it must be nice to be so naive and trusting.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Big oil and big coal?  I’ll have to think about that one.  Maybe they brainwashed me when I wasn’t looking.

            I’ve been driving a hybrid since 2006 and I’ve been VERY happy with it.

          • mozartman

            No, you are not.  You trot out some people who either have a stake in denying the facts or who do it for other reasons   But very very few of those have solid scientific facts on their side.  Many of the deniers are funded by interests that have a big stake in the future of fossil fuels.  You know who I mean.  Many of those people also have an ideology that is very anti-science.  The GOP has been hijacked by those people   Just listen to the silly debates about evolution and such.

            Sure, there are cranks and quacks on the other side too.  What do you expect if tens of thousands of scientists study this field. Mistakes are made and will be made, like in every filed.  But people like you focus only on those who disagree, but never with the well over 98% who say it’s mostly humans who cause the warming.  The other 2% are trained scientists too, but so are some flat earthers and biologists who deny evolution even though it’s been settled beyond a shadow of a doubt.  By the way, a scientific theory is a fact, not a theory in the way non-scientists use that word.  

            Why do you cast your lot with people who denied the link of smoking with cancer and other such idiots?  When bacteria were linked to infections, many doctors at first refused to wash their hands and disinfect their tools.  They laughed at those who said that tiny organisms can cause those infections.  We know where they ended up – on the wrong side of history.

            if you obtain a PhD in climate science and statistics and bring forth some peer reviewed research to refute the 98% of such PhD, then I listen to you.  Otherwise, you are just an ideologue who repeats the talking points that others give to you.  Why don’t you read some papers or watch videos of scientists who say the opposite of what you believe?  Maybe they change your mind.  you are like Romney and his staff – only listen to one side of the news and then get whacked with a 2by4 with mouths and eyes wide open. 

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             You post comes across as an ad hominen attack impugning my motives.

            I do look at both sides.  I try and keep an open mind.  This issue happens to be a hobby of mine but I don’t pretend to be an expert.  However, I know enough to recognize propaganda — on both sides.

            btw – the 98% number you throw out IS propaganda. There is no way you can support that claim. Also, scientific method has nothing to do with consensus.  The ‘consensus’ of the physics community was Einstein was a quack for about 20 years at the start of the 20th century.

            Here are the views of PhD, peer reviewed researcher at MIT on the corruption of climate field.  It might open your eyes.
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_News_BlogsModule

            Richard Feynman warned about such ‘Cargo Cult Science’ many years ago.

            You might enjoy this if you are interested in science.

            http://neurotheory.columbia.edu/~ken/cargo_cult.html

            Enjoy!

          • mozartman

            As I said, there are quacks on both sides of the issue.  And the 98% is not propaganda.  These are peer reviewed scientific journal articles and that’s all that counts.  Everything else is propaganda.

            There is a huge difference between Einstein and the climate science.  When Einstein came up with his theories, there was no way to prove anything.  It was like religion – you buy it on faith alone.  But once scientists were able to prove his theories (experiments during solar eclipses, atomic bomb), then almost all physicists came around.  There are still some who deny it, but who cares?  99% agree and those who don’t can say what they want.  OK, so maybe it’s 80% or 90% or whatever.  But it is the vast majority and unlike Einstein’s theories, every high school kid can measure CO2 in the air.  We have ice cores and the like that show how much CO2 was in the air over the past million years and it is now the highest in 800,000 years.  There is physical proof. 

            Even if you don’t believe in warming, it’s irrefutable that more CO2 leads to more acidic oceans which leads to a host of other problems with the animals that live there and which we eat.  There is no dissenting voice on that anymore.  For that reason alone we should reduce and at some point stop the use of fossil fuels.  What about air pollution in major cities?  Did you read about China recently?  Even here in Salt Lake City we choked recently on bad air from the burning of fossil fuels.  Even if global warming were not a problem, pollution and the acidification of the oceans alone warrant more caution.  

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Thanks for you post.  It will allow me to clear up some misunderstandings.

            There is no dispute that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and increasing and humans have caused that increase.  The question is does that cause a problem and if it does what do we about it?

            There is no consensus around ocean acidification.  You are dead wrong if you think there is.  There is some concern and it should be studied. Carbonic acid is a very weak acid and the ocean is a very complex system.  Even the predicted worst case decrease in pH is less than the natural daily variation due to photosynthesis and other natural processes.  Further, the natural absorption   and  emission of CO2 from the sea is 90x the human added CO2 levels.  Also, much of the sea life evolved when the CO2 content of the ocean was much higher and therefore will probably be able to adapt just fine to these minor changes.

            You reference real pollution in China and elsewhere.  I am completely with you that real pollution should be addressed ASAP.

          • BenGjones

            The argument that CO2 is plant food is deeply flawed. Plants use different mechanisms to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and these mechanisms only work within given parameters. Increasing CO2 does not automatically increase the efficiency of uptake, and in some cases can hinder it. There are two main photosynthesis patways; C3 and C4, and both react very differently to changes in temperature and CO2 concentration. C3 plants can enter photorespiration if kept too warm, and C4 plants do not generally benefit from increased CO2 level, often showing stress.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Newest entry into Dumbest Post of the Day sweepstakes.

      • Tyranipocrit

        and carbon nmonoxide and methane?  Go suck on your exhaust pipe.

  • Trond33

    I completely agree with Mr. Friedman, simply because of one universal truth – “It is always more efficient to be proactive than reactive.”  A carbon tax is proactive, the alternative is heavier direct and indirect taxes in the future.  We already pay higher indirect taxes in the form of water treatment or medical costs for resulting illnesses. 

  • SBarbara2535

    I agree on the carbon tax proposal. However, framing it as a budget fix (1T in 10 years) is insulting coming from an Iraq War cheerleader like Mr Friedman. He has scant moral authority and awful timing when discussing ways to strengthen the country. His ill conceived war will end up costing the US more than 3 Trillion. Mr Friedman, go write another book, rack up more 75k speaking fees and leave U.S. economic salvation to the grown ups.

  • StilllHere

    Don’t we already tax carbon?  Both the states and feds tax gas.

    • mozartman

      But not coal, which is the biggest culprit.  

  • wenkebeate

    Ever since Thomas Friedman’s support of the Iraq War and his totally wrong reasoning for supporting it, I never read or listen to him.  Yeah, a carbon tax might be a great idea, but why isn’t Mr. Friedman admitting that the political climate  during President’s Obama’s tenure probably makes it a non starter.  He’s blaming the President for not using the bully pulpit to push a climate agenda (don’t worry he’ll get to it)—-well, do see how far that went with gun control. Mr. Friendman really showed his true colors when he insulted the President by saying there would a small room in his Presidential Library of all the grand ideas he did not pursue—-how small.  But, he lauded the Affordable Care Act as a huge job creator.  He’s like the right wing Republicans who blame President Obama for everything that’s wrong in the world. Also, all the three issues that he stated in the beginning of the interview as necessary for our country’s health—increased revenues, solutions to Medicare and S.S., and investing in the future is exactly what the President talks about almost everyday!  Nothing new there Mr. Friedman.

    • JGC

      If you discount all other ideas based on support of the Iraq War, I suppose that means you will not be voting for Hillary Clinton when she runs for President in 2016.  

  • AstroManUS

    A few thoughts:

    If we are so hard up for oil, we need to squeeze it out of sands, we are in trouble.

    Hurting the middle and poor?  I’m guessing I should have a warm and fuzzy feeling for your concern?  There are 6+ billion of us heading to 7, more wanting ”stuff”, this is a finite sphere, the planet does not recognize quarterly financial statements. 

    I am getting tired of hearing that the rich are not rich enough,
    life must be tough for them, while middle class wages stagnate.  “They” deserve all they can get and the rest of us are told you are lucky to have a job.  God Bless America!
        
    The climate has always been changing, the difference is that we are now intelligent enough(or so it seems) to see the mechanics.  CO2 is also a greenhouse gas.  If that is still a point of argument, we do not deserve the title of most intelligent species on this planet.

    This has to be agreed to globally, disappointed in China and India, had hoped they would have learned from our mistakes.
    China is a ecological disaster in the making.

    People keep on about cutting spending.  A 5-year old kid can cut taxes, you want to impress me, tell me what you want to cut. 

    Remember when we were a Superpower, you know, with a capital S?  When we were a spacefaring nation and heading out.  When we were bold.  Now we are reduced to this? 

    In the end, is saving humanity from itself cost-effective?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    Lots of good ideas, but now comes the reality check. The “powers that be” will fight any of these ideas tooth and nail. They are all about power, and they will do anything to hang on to that power.

    • Mattyster

       True, but that’s no reason to give up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/onauman Orion Nauman

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to get rid of the oil subsidies? It would still drive people to use less gas and generate more revenue and make tax law simpler. 

    • StilllHere

      That just penalizes US oil companies to the benefit of foreign competitors, many of whom receive subsidies from their home countries.

      • jefe68

        In case you have not noticed, the oil corporations are multi-nationals.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          (…until they need the American flag to protect them overseas.)

        • StilllHere

          You are biggest piece of ignorant garbage.  There are thousands of oil companies in the US that are not multinationals.  Pull your head out of your gigantic arse.

    • Mattyster

       That would make sense too.  One doesn’t exclude the other.

  • JGC

    Excerpts from Canadian Business magazine, “The Carbon Tax Stays”, 26 Nov 2012:

    North America’s first and still only broadly based, revenue-neutral carbon tax has helped British Columbia maintain the lowest average income tax rates in Canada… Evidence mounts that the tax is delivering environmental benefits…B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 4.5% between 2007 and 2010 while the province’s economic growth outpaced Canada as a whole…British Columbian’s use of petroleum fuels has dropped by 15.1% since 2008. Over the same period, the rest of Canada increased its per capita consumption by 1.3%…Among the general public,  the carbon tax is more popular now than it was four years ago when critics were stoking fear of the unknown. 

    • JGC
    • andic_epipedon

      I wonder if that comes close to making up for all the carbon reducing trees they cut down or if they could survive without the timber industry?

      • JGC

        Huh? Anyway, here is a another BC provincial government site that might give you some information on how they addressing concerns in this area, with lots of links within on the stewardship of BC forests:

        http://www.for.gov.bc.ca

    • NotFunnyMitt

      Like the information, not finding the article on their website……link?

  • hdesignr

    Thomas Friedman: A fool making foolish statements, proposing foolish ideas.

    • andysmiley

      Do you think giving oil and coal companies tax breaks and subsidies is a good idea?

    • Roy-in-Boise

      The stone age didn’t end because they ran out of rocks. Fossil fuel is the energy of a primitive society. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your Android is we are still a Type:0 civilization.

    • mozartman

      have any better ideas apart form just using carbon based fuels until they are gone?  before that happens, we will choke on our own exhaust. 

  • andic_epipedon

    I’m disappointed Tom didn’t invite experts into the discussion.  Tom Friedan’s book was groundbreaking from a historical and geopolitical perspective, but he’s not an economist or a scientist.  I think he’s way outside his area of expertise on this one.

  • Christina Locke

    There needs to be more of a discussion about who’s going to feel the most hurt from this — poor folks, and particularly rural poor folks. People calling for tax breaks to address these harms are typically well-off…the rest of us who are living paycheck to paycheck can’t wait til the end of the year to pay ourselves back. And as many new “green” jobs this tax would hopefully create, it’s not like those jobs would be scattered evenly across the country and accessible to those outside of cities. The rest of us will still need the same amount of fuel to do our work. Sure, it works okay in Denmark, but transportation issues are much easier addressed in a smaller country. I’m not saying a carbon tax is a wrong idea, but the ills need to be examined more closely.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Who made this guy God??? He doesn’t even have a Masters degree, does he?

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Hey, Tom, what about the “America Invents Act” that the news media didn’t cover at all? Won’t that help the multinationals make independent inventors and small start-ups extinct within 10 years?

  • Snowball_Tex

    “The World is Flat” was a veiled metaphor for redistribution of the wealth and property of the American working class. Mr. Friedman believes the common people of America are dangerous populists who should be controlled by heavy tax burdens. The voice of the aristocracy.

  • cory fabiano

    I like Tom Friedman – I have read a few of his books.  But I still think of him as a professional windbag.  He wins when he gets people to read his columns and buy his books.

    I remember when he was on Charlie Rose a number of years ago recommending that we go in and take out Saddam Hussein.  He thought that it was a good idea but he – and apparently few others – had a clear understanding of what might be unleashed by doing that.

    He doesn’t have to fully reconcile his ideas with reality.

    A carbon tax would further reduce our competitiveness with products produced already at 3rd world labor rates without these taxes.  The only way we could conceivably do this would be to apply a carbon tax on all imported goods where those goods are produced without a similar tax.

    I have little confidence in the Chinese assertions that they are going to apply any significant carbon tax.  

    While we are at it maybe we should apply an intellectual property tax for goods that imported from countries where they don’t respect or enforce intellectual property rights.

  • William Lichtenstein

    The US is overly dependent on oil.  Almost 100% of our transportation industry runs on oil.  Almost 75% of the oil we use is for transportation.  We import almost 50% of the oil we use, which means we send about $1 Billion overseas everyday to pay for it.  We, the citizens, have to take control of this issue.  We can’t expect or wait for Washington to do it.  They’re incapable.  Our form of government only works when the people rise up and require our politicians to do things.  This is like any other major movement in our history (voting rights, civil rights, gay rights, whatever).  We need to organize, educate and determine how we want to solve this problem (opportunity).  Then we have to march on Washington and rally for change.  Something this big, and it is, requires us to mobilize the people and demand our work gets done.  This is the most important issue of our generation.  If we do this right we can give the next several generations a pathway to energy and economic independence.  If we don’t we will have doomed them forever.  The choice, as they say, is ours.  Go to http://www.hevfoundation.org and sign up.  Come go with me!

    • nj_v2

      I’d say it’s going to take more than “rallying.” Millions of people pre-”rallied” against Shrubs’s little FUBAR wars, and they happened anyway. The military/political/corporate/oligarch complex doesn’t care about letters, e-mails, petitions, or rallies. New tactics are needed to match and subvert the power and dominance of the current oppression.

  • Kevin Cahill

    Tom Friedman should read Paul Krugman’s NYT columns.  He’d learn that our real problem is unemployment, and that raising taxes now is nuts.   The carbon tax should be revenue neutral with the money collected used to reduce the regressive payroll tax.

    • jfreed27

       The carbon tax could easily be designed to be revenue neutral, with all fees returned as a simple check or as lower taxes.   This would compensate for higher carbon energy costs and shift the market to low carbon energy.

      Or, we could wait and see what happens. Which is what we poor dodos like to do.

  • Emmy Coxbill

    m

  • msully72

    The Denmark comparison was really bad.  Denmark already has enormous taxes on private car ownership. This means its culture, from the middle-class down, was based on walking, cycling and public transport, so a carbon tax there isn’t going to hit as hard.

    • OnPointComments

      I agree.  I find these comparisons between the US and tiny Scandinavian countries, in this case Denmark, to be useless.  Denmark is an essentially homogeneous country, especially when compared to the US, has less than 1/200th the physical size of the US, and has a population less than 1/50th of the US.  My guess is that many things that work well for Denmark would not work nearly as well in the US.

      • Payhole Everdouche

        You can compare Denmark with Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota or Minnesota. Isn’t Thomas Friedman himself from Minnesota? 

  • Gordon Green

    I am wary of Tom Friedman’s analysis, especially after his flagrantly glib and obtuse commentary on the Iraq war. His ideas often seem to consist of simplistic observations and anecdotes inflated into grandiose policy pronouncements, that may or may not stand up to closer inspection, or the test of time.  That being said, I agree with what he said on this program.

  • Gordon Green

    Why not?  Canada is pretty big, and has many policies that are not dissimilar regarding, for example, health care (in reply to OnPointComments).

    • Payhole Everdouche

      Ô Canada!Terre de nos aïeux,Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,Il sait porter la croix!Ton histoire est une épopéeDes plus brillants exploits.Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

  • Gregg Smith

    What’s that growth on his left cheek?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       A piece of carbon he wants to tax.

  • Mattyster

    Why is it fine for gas prices to go up 400% as long as all the money goes to the oil companies – that’s just the market doing it’s thing – but for gas prices to go up 4% to help pay for public services and infrastructure, and to encourage the use of cleaner energy, that would be horrible, terrible, and will destroy our economy?  Thank you Tom Friedman for saying out loud what would be obvious to everyone if they thought about it.

    • burroak

      Indeed.

  • Fredlinskip

    I find it interesting, if a bit disheartening, that so many Americans are STILL in denial of existence of man-influenced climate change. 
    A # of them frequent this comments page.
    During “birther” debate, a high percentage of Republicans did not believe Obama was born in U.S.
    But when polled a high percentage of these folks did not seem to realize Hawaii was a state in America. It’s hard to argue with these types of folks,.
    Nonetheless, here are a few interesting facts provided Wikipedia (as internet sites go fairly reputable):

       “The finding that climate has warmed in recent decades and human activities are already contributing adversely to global climate change has been endorsed by every national science academy that has issued a statement on climate change, including academies of all major industrialized countries.
    2) Scientists have resolved these questions decisively in favor of  view that current warming trend exists and is ongoing, that *HUMAN ACTIVITY IS PRIMARY CAUSE, and that it is without precedent in at least 2000 years,
    3) Mark Serreze, the director of US National Snow and Ice Data Center, found 2030 ‘a reasonable estimate’ of date the Arctic could lose all of its ice.

       Disputes over key scientific facts of global warming are now more prevalent in popular media than in the scientific literature. Many of the largely settled scientific issues, such as human responsibility for global warming, remain subject of politically or economically motivated attempts to downplay, dismiss or deny them- referred to by academics and scientists as “climate change denial”.  The fact that only half of the American population believe that global warming is caused by human activity could be seen as a victory by these so-called skeptics
       Climate scientists, especially in US, have reported  official (government) and oil-industry pressure to censor and suppress their work and hide scientific data, with directives not to discuss the subject in public communications
        In his book The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney has argued that the appearance of overlapping groups of skeptical scientists, commentators and think tanks in seemingly unrelated controversies results from an organized attempt to replace scientific analysis with political ideology. Mooney says that the promotion of doubt regarding issues that are politically, but not scientifically, controversial became increasingly prevalent under the Bush Administration, who regularly distorted and/or suppressed scientific research to further its own political aims.”

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      I am sorry but I do not subscribe to your religion.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.bast.90 Leonard Bast

        Given how emotional and irrational your usual comments are here, is it any wonder that modern science is completely beyond your comprehension?

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Nice avatar, pedestrian comment.  

          • jefe68

            I could say the same about your comments. Pedestrian.

            If you don’t believe in science, so be it. 

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I so glad to see that all the luddites agree.

      • Fredlinskip

        Science isn’t a religion.
        Neither are facts.

    • rede2fly

      Has anyone come up with an estimate of the reduction in energy consumption required to affect the changing climate?

    • Michele

       Amen.

  • Tyranipocrit

    carbon taxing doesnt work.  Its an excuse to do nothing.  Change your lifestyle–regulate business.  Change the social paradigm and lifestyle or else–suffer the consequences.  Doing noting is the mantra of thugs.

  • Steve Buelte

    I like the general concept of a carbon tax with the use of the revenue incorporating a liberal/conservative compromise.

    One idea would be to take 1/3 and use it for debt reduction,  1/3 and use it for implementation of existing efficiency and green energy solutions, 1/3 for alternative energy R&D.  As carbon emission drop the revenue would automatically decrease.  The 1/3 used for implementation of high efficiency could partially focus on low income people hardest hit by the tax.  The tax could be set to expire between 2020 and 2025 to avoid long term growth of government.

    This could reduce the debt, put people to work implementing existing technologies which can’t be outsourced, and develop key new technology to keep the economy competitive in the future while addressing the long term problem of climate change.

  • ExcellentNews

    There ARE two Americas. There is the America “by the people for the people”, where ideas like carbon tax can be tried to see if they result in better life and better country. After all, a massive shift away from carbon fuels DOES make economic sense. Transforming the US energy infrastructure could create up to 25,000,000 new jobs IN AMERICA, and make us not only energy independent but also energy-sustainable for the long term. Yes, energy costs would increase, but that increase can be easily absorbed by the resulting stronger economy. The evidence around the world is that high energy costs do not hurt economies, they actually help them become more advanced and productive. And a cleaner environment for everyone would be a nice outcome too.

    Good ideas… unless you happen to be a coal billionaire, an oil cartel CEO, or a Middle Eastern sheikh. Because you see, there is the SECOND America – the one “by the oligarchs for the oligarchs”. In that America, a disappearing US middle class is maxing our their credit cards to buy cheap plastic stuff at Wal-Mart ™ made by slave-labor…etc. You actually know that aspect of the “new reality” too well…

    You do not know of the tens of trilllions of dollars sitting in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland or Dubai, buying (mostly Republican) politicians to paralyze our government so that the OLIGARCHY can remake Western democracy into something much more to their liking – crony regimes with no vision, no principles, no purpose. If we the people do not wake up and harken to ideas like that of Mr. Friedman, we will soon find that America as we knew it is gone, and has been replaced by a tinpot banana republic with nuclear weapons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.voth Roger Voth

    Maybe someone discussed it, but I think that only taxing CO2 emissions would be allowing some energy production to go un-taxed. 

    In order to be fair, nuclear power should be taxed to pay for disposal of radioactive waste.  Solar energy should be taxed to pay for they way its panels are created and later disposed of.    Wind energy should be also taxed for their long term impact on the environment.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Nuclear waste disposal fees are already charged to the nuke operators. I believe $25B+ has been collected to date.

        Is this sufficient?  I’m not sure since the Feds wasted $15B on the development of Yucca MT. before they abandoned it.

      The best solution is to complete the development of molten salt reactors that will be able to burn the long term waste and significantly reduce the volume so all the waste in the US can fit in the size of a moderate warehouse and will only need to be stored for a hundred years or so until it gets back to radiation levels of natural uranium ore.

  • Fredlinskip

    Great show, O.P.
    Thanks

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Apr 18, 2014
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