Climate change is real. Rising levels of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide and methane, are producing global warming, melting ice, rising sea levels, and more acidic oceans.
The fundamental libertarian principle is non-aggression, not harming others. Climate change is harming the planet, harming other species, and harming human property as well. Thus there are principled reasons for libertarians and all of us to support action on climate change.
The scientific and policy debate about global warming has been politicized by both the left and the right. However a vast left wing conspiracy cannot shrink the Arctic ice cap, just one of many consequences of climate change. As the United States joins other nations to act on climate change, it is time for all of us to base our policy positions on reason and science, proposing market-based actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In past decades, our industrial economy routinely used asbestos, lead, mercury, and other substances then found to be harmful and phased out. The inconvenient truth is that fossil fuels, the foundation of our energy economy, are producing harmful effects that now need to be ended.
To end the harms of greenhouse gas emissions, we should phase in requirements that such emissions be eliminated, sequestered, or reliably offset. For emissions that are not dealt with, there should be a price, a carbon tax, applied uniformly.
A carbon tax should apply to government as well as private industry, and apply to imports from countries without comparable levies.
As a carbon tax is phased in, we should phase out subsidies for other forms of energy and end central planning of energy production and consumption. Let the market determine energy sources once externalities are included in prices.
Finally, for a carbon tax to be supported by fiscal conservatives, it should not increase general government revenues. The fee and dividend approach, which distributes revenues to the people instead, has wide support and would help families pay the higher energy costs expected during our transition to new sources.
If we want our government to balance the budget and pay down its debts, we cannot reduce the absolute amount of revenue taken in taxes for a long time.
However we can create a much less burdensome tax system with these features:
The American Revolution began as a tax revolt and our federal government has a long history of excessive taxation. I support a Constitutional amendment to limit and specify the allowed taxes that the federal government can levy:
Congress shall have the power to tax personal income from all sources at a uniform rate not to exceed 10%.
Congress shall have the power to tax business income, excluding compensation to persons and excluding business inputs already taxed on business income. This tax shall be at a uniform rate not to exceed 10%.
Congress shall have the power to tax greenhouse gas emissions that are not sequestered or reliably offset.
Congress shall have the power to appropriate periodic per person payments of a flat amount per person, for persons who are United States citizens or permanent residents, and for the purpose of making federal tax burdens progressive.
This amendment shall take effect on 1 January at least 12 months but less than 24 months after it is ratified.
When this amendment takes effect, all preexisting federal taxes are abolished and repealed, without removing financial obligations for taxes in prior years.
Congress shall have the power to enforce this amendment through appropriate legislation, however once ratified, it shall take effect even if Congress does not act.
If a job in Canada paid a million dollars a year, how many of us would try to sneak into that country? Quite a few.
In the absence of another offense, crossing a border illegally does not harm anyone. The man or woman from Mexico or China or Syria is a human being as much as you are, with the same right to seek to earn an honest living.
The economic impact of immigration is positive. Immigrants tend to be young, healthy, hard working, and economically ambitious.
So long as we have a welfare state, we are not likely to have unlimited immigration. Martin favors greatly increasing legal immigration while reducing illegal immigration, via these proposals:
In a world of jet planes and cheap travel, caging people with borders makes no sense. Our long range goal should be a world where people can move freely.
Finally, ethnic or religious prejudice--as often expressed by Donald Trump--is not a good basis for our immigration policy.
ObamaCare is a failure. It forces you to buy inferior health insurance for an excessive price, continuing the trend of government making health care less affordable.
Government has wrecked and distorted our health care system for more than five decades, and has caused most of the huge increases in health care costs in that time.
Here are ten things we can do to clean up the health care mess:
We have an economy half destroyed by government. We all know our government faces future bankruptcy, a definite damper on investment plans. Productive businesses and workers face combined federal-state marginal tax rates that often range from 30% to 50%.
There are huge and increasing amounts of regulations hampering businesses and workers.
Government has almost completely messed up large economic sectors, such as education and health care. Government has significantly distorted other economic sectors, such as energy and transportation.
Here are ten things we can do to restart our economy and create sustainable economic growth:
The United States Constitution, as amended, is the one rock upon which all Americans can stand.
After inauspicious beginnings, a Constitution that sanctioned slavery and ignored individual rights added a Bill of Rights, abolished slavery, expanded representative democracy, and corrected mistakes along the way.
I favor four amendments to the Constitution:
The current disrespect for our Constitution by Democrats and Republicans is dangerous. President Obama has violated the Constitution multiple times, ignoring or changing laws by executive order rather than legislation. Republicans in the Senate are actively violating their Constitutional duties by refusing to act on judicial nominations.
Paid for by Martin L. Buchanan