Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Bloomberg is audaciously hopeful

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on December 14, 2007

In his speech at the Bali conference, Michael Bloomberg described a cap-and-trade system as vulnerable to “special interests, corruption, and inefficiencies,” and called for a tax in its stead. There have been numerous posts here at CT weighing the merits and deficiencies of taxes against those of a cap-and-trade system, so I’m not going to try to expand or improve upon those.

However, a major argument raised against a carbon tax is that of political intractability. Bloomberg attempted to address this major weakness of his policy:

He said most experts would agree that carbon taxes are “a very difficult political lift,” since they would probably boost costs for energy consumers. “But that’s what leadership is all about, and we need leaders around the world who get things done,” the New York City mayor said.

First off, a cap-and-trade, unless full auctioning occurs, is also likely to raise costs for energy consumers. Second, is it just me, or do politicians put far too much stock in their own ability to lead America to greatness? Obviously we need to elect people who have vision on important issues, but choosing realistic policies is also a big part of being an effective leader. Regardless, with Chris Dodd largely out of contention, it would be interesting to see Bloomberg jump in the Presidential race. He could inject the cap-and-trade vs. carbon tax debate into national politics. Jumping right to that dicussion in a general election (especially one in which two major candidates are discussing it) might cast mandatory carbon mitigation as an inevitability.

H/T: Mankiw.

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5 Responses to “Bloomberg is audaciously hopeful”

  1. Daniel Hall said

    What is up with the subliminal Obama reference?

  2. Evan Herrnstadt said

    It was more of an allusion than a subliminal message. I read Bloomberg’s quote and it sounded so audaciously hopeful, that I thought maybe he and Obama were hanging out a bunch lately or something.

  3. Daniel Hall said

    But isn’t Obama audaciously hopeful about corn ethanol and coal?

  4. Evan Herrnstadt said

    Sure, but he’s leading America into the future of ethanol. The future being until Jan. 4.

  5. As long as you’re spelling his name right.

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