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The method most congenial to personal and economic freedom is a carbon tax. Instead of putting the government behind favored forms of energy, as the administration likes to do, it would create strong incentives for people to find their own ways to reduce emissions.
It would achieve maximum benefits at minimum cost. It could be revenue-neutral, if the receipts were used to pay for other tax cuts.
A carbon tax is hardly a liberal idea. Among its proponents are Gregory Mankiw, who headed the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain's chief economist during his presidential campaign. But Republican politicians have no interest.
During hard economic times, that approach may work. But at some point, voters will conclude that global warming and other environmental problems demand solutions. And Republicans will be left wondering why they didn't come up with any.
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