Monday, June 16, 2008

National Post's Ivison Endorses Liberal Plan

Okay, so I'm reading John Ivison's column in the National Post, frankly something I can only stomach occasionally. It's a quirky piece, because it spends a good portion hammering Dion's plan:
This is, of course, hogwash. The Liberals are going to propose that the Auditor-General's office confirm that all taxes raised are returned to consumers, but an audit would not take account of price increases introduced by companies hit elsewhere by the Liberal tax grab. For example, if you are Suncor, an integrated oil company that turns oil from the oilsands into crude before shipping it to its refineries to be converted into transportation fuel, and you suddenly find your costs have risen dramatically because of the carbon tax, how likely is it that you will resist the temptation to make your customers pay more at the pumps?

To be fair, the Conservative cap and trade plan is equally deceptive.

Equally deceptive. Which means all the parties plans will cost you, so there goes that argument.

All things being equal, then:
A carbon tax would have the advantage over cap and trade of cost certainty, less price volatility and comparative administrative simplicity.

Ivison ends with scepticism that Canadians will buy in, once they learn that it will cost them with "their money". But, really what Ivison presents suggests the opposite. Following the logic, all the party plans will cost consumers, but a carbon tax has advantages which are attractive. That presents the voter will all four parties endorsing essentially two approaches, both of which bring cost through the economy, which means they have to accept "their money". Faced with that real scenario, as Ivison sees it, what is the best of the worst options? Welcome aboard John, although that probably wasn't you intent.

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