The Green Tariff Racket
Governments are always on the lookout for new ways to generate revenue. One of the newest: slapping tariffs on foreign goods unless producers meet certain specific rules and regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s a plan the European Union is considering, but as the Wall Street Journal notes, this idea is not new at all. Instead, it’s old-fashioned protectionism dressed up as concern for the environment. And the EU’s hope is the Biden administrations will join in:
The carbon-tariff plan may be intended to goad the Biden Administration into imposing a carbon tax that would burden U.S. businesses with the same climate costs as Europe’s. The list of targeted industries appears calculated to minimize the effect on trade with the U.S., but the threat of expansion to cover more goods is serious. John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, has said the Administration is evaluating a climate border tax. And the political temptation to please climate greens and protectionist unions with tariffs, especially toward China, will grow.
The climate tariff is a tacit admission that Western elites haven’t convinced their voters to pay the price of their climate obsessions. Like Donald Trump, they now want to blame foreigners. In the process they’ll force their consumers to pay more for imports and domestic goods, and they’ll harm their own exporters if countries retaliate.
Given the Biden administration’s desire to make nice to the EU bureaucrats, coupled with its demonstrated desire to scoop-up new revenue to pay for more and bigger government, following Europe’s lead on a green tariff is a real possibility.
And like clockwork, that’s exactly what some congressional Democrats want to do:
Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said…“there is a lot of support for this idea” of a border adjustment tax on high-carbon products.
The size and scale of the potential “polluter import fee,” as it was described in a summary document, were not immediately clear. But the plan dovetails with efforts by other countries — including the European Union — to use trade policy as a tool for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Supporters of the tax include former Vice President Al Gore, who said in an interview…with Bloomberg Television that a border adjustment tax was a “point of dialogue” between the European Union and the U.S.
The language used to obscure what’s going on here — “border adjustment tax” is remarkable. It’s a tariff. Tariffs punish consumers and reward…government.