The Instigator
byaka2013
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Capitalistslave
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Should the US Impose a Tax on Carbon Emissions?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Capitalistslave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2017 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 836 times Debate No: 101398
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

byaka2013

Pro

Round 1 is just for you to accept. In round 1, type that you accept my debate and nothing more. Round 2 is opening statements and primary claims. The third round is the main one, with most of your points/ rebuttals. The fourth is final statements and conclusions.

The participant shall agree to no ad hominem attacks.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
byaka2013

Pro

I would like to begin by reaffirming my position, which is that the US should impose tax on carbon, similar to the https://berniesanders.com... proposal. I will not debate whether or not climate change is real, as that would be a time waste. The tax on carbon emissions I propose would be about 5 dollars per ton per family, calculated monthly. http://www.freeby50.com..., who used data from the US Census Bureau, concluded that about 46% of people in the US make over 25000 a year. So, assuming the US has 320 million people in it, about 147.2 million people in this country make above that income. I would only impose this tax on those making above that, and the Guardian claims 5 tons is the average, monthly. So, people would pay about 25 dollars per month on that, or 300 per year. Multiply by 2.5 for families and get 750 per year. 750*(147.2/2.5)=44.16 billion, annually. How can you pass that up?
Look- the government could do a lot with this money. You may argue all this does is make things bad for the economy, but I disagree. Benefits of carbon tax:
1. Lower morale for carbon pollution
2. Punish companies and corporations who profit from this
3. Allow the government to pay for many non fossil fuel proposals, including installing solar panels and wind turbines

Excerpt from http://www.nytimes.com...: British Columbia's carbon tax is only four years old, but preliminary data shows that greenhouse gas emissions are down 4.5% even as population and gross domestic product have been growing.

So why not implement a progressive carbon tax?
Capitalistslave

Con

I assume this would be a tax imposed by the US federal government. I asked in comments, though my opponent didn't say anything. Since they suggested Bernie Sanders' plan, which is federal government, then I assume they also support the federal government doing this tax. This is important because that adds another reason why I would oppose it.

I oppose the carbon tax for the following reasons:
1) It would harm the poor more than anyone else, and it wouldn't do anything to corporations like some claim it would
2) There are a lot of Americans opposed to this tax, and they should not be subjected to the will of the people who do want it
3) Taxation is coercion

Since my opponent wanted just opening statements and primary claims, this is all I have for this round. I look forward to their points and arguments for the nect round.
Debate Round No. 2
byaka2013

Pro

Why would it matter whether or not the federal government implemented this? What other options are there?

To counter your reasons:
I support raising the minimum wage which could change the first part. As for the second, according to http://www.ucsusa.org..., Chevron, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, British Petroleum, Gazprom, Shell and the National Iranian Oil Company have produced 18.7 percent of all industrial carbon released into the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
This doesn"t matter because at one point, most people were opposed to critical thinking and executed "witches". https://www.carbontax.org... says 50% of Americans support a carbon tax in some way. http://www.ctvnews.ca... says 62%, and https://thinkprogress.org... says 60%. The mean is thus 57.33%.
Googling coercion gives you: the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats. It"s not really force or a threat- it would just be a law or tax. Do you call income tax a coercion? No, so why call a carbon tax that? And what is so intrinsically bad about this taxation?

I mentioned British Columbia and their carbon tax. Truthfully, Canada"s GDP is going down. But it is not a result of this carbon tax- why would it be if a tax b brings in money to the government?

How else would we pay for installing solar panels, wind turbines, using geothermal energy, and other renewable energy sources? The tax could bring up to 145 billion dollars into the United States annually, according to the same http://www.nytimes.com... article from the opening statements (assume a 30 dollar per ton rate). We could then lower corporate regular tax rates to make room for this and keep things in balance.

The thing is, right now we tax good things- money. Why do this if we can tax bad things- carbon emissions. Do you not agree that this would lower carbon pollution morale?
Again from the NY Times article: British Columbia"s carbon tax is only four years old, but preliminary data show that greenhouse gas emissions are down 4.5 percent even as population and gross domestic product have been growing. Sales of motor gasoline have fallen by 2 percent since 2007, compared with a 5 percent increase for Canada as a whole.

Now, a carbon tax gives Americans more control over how much they pay in taxes. So let"s do some math. Here are my calculations for the average day under a carbon tax and total amount of carbon emitted:

6:00 you wake up and have a shower, using no carbon. You plug in the coffee machine, of which the energy was created using fossil fuels. Let"s put it at 5 pounds. Now, you must turn on some lights, specifically a total of 3 light bulbs. http://www.countdownyourcarbon.org... says some math which we can combine with http://eartheasy.com.... 1 pound is emitted about every 1.6 hours. So 13.75 pounds are emitted when the lights are on. You make breakfast using a safe stove, and go to work, walking the mile. Your work alone emits about 20 pounds per day. So, you come home and emit an additional 15 pounds.

The total is 48.75 pounds, or about .02 metric tons. This every day would be .6 tons monthly and 7.2 tons annually. It is still above the global average of 4, but not only is this scientifically healthier; it would regardless generate some revenue of about 36 dollars annually. Assuming you make the GDP per capita (53042 per year), I"m sure you could afford it.

Even if you made 40000 a year, and cut carbon emissions to an annual 200 dollar price, it"s not much. There is nothing to show this is unaffordable.

Now let"s talk about companies. This is where Bernie and I disagree. In 2015, he introduced the Climate Protection and Justice Act, which was going to tax emissions of the large fossil fuel producers (i.e. companies). I prefer a larger tax for the companies (maybe 10 or 15 dollars per ton), but smaller for the people.
We are not trying to harm the corporations- we are trying to simply show them that destroying the environment should not be tolerated.

Again, why not implement this?
Capitalistslave

Con

I'll get to why it matters whether the federal government implements this as I expand on my second point from above.

Since my opponent offered rebuttals to my general statements, I will re-write my general statements, expand on them, and then quote in italics my opponent's quotes dealing with that section and defend against their rebuttal.

1) It would harm the poor more than anyone else, and it wouldn't do anything to corporations like some claim it would.
The reason it would harm the poor more than anyone else, is because if economics tells us anything, it's that when the price of something goes up(such as use of carbon, which this tax would bring up the price of carbon emissions) companies react by raising their prices to counteract this. If you look at this source, the poor spend the highest percent of their income on food and housing more than any other income group[1]. Food prices would rise due to this carbon tax because it would be more expensive to transport this food, as cars emit CO2. This tax would likely result in most companies raising their prices, and the poor are the ones who spend the highest percent of their income, the rich tend to save and invest their money.
I support raising the minimum wage which could change the first part.
It wouldn't. Again, if you make something more expensive for a business(such as increasing the rate at which they have to pay their workers), their reaction is to raise prices. By raising the minimum wage, it would lead to businesses raising the prices of their products, OR it could lead to them not hiring as many people. The result in the Seattle minimum wage increase was many jobs disappearing[2] So, while the poor would be earning more, they would also be spending more because things cost more, or else unemployment will rise if the busineses choose to not hire as many people. Over all, raising the minimum wage will do nothing or only benefit those who already have jobs and put some people at risk of losing their jobs. Additionally, not all of the poor are minimum wage earners. For example someone working at say $12 an hour, working full time, would earn 24960 a year before taxes. Now, the poverty threshold for a family of 5 is 28,741[3]. That means that family would be in poverty even with the increased minimum wage, and they would have to put up with the increase of prices. In fact, if that family is currently earning that before a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour, it does nothing to benefit them, and only hurts them because everything gets more expensive, while they make no more money. Even if the minimum wage was increased from the current 7.25 to 15 an hour, and they make an additional $3 an hour, the rate at which the $7.25 increase to $15 an hour would cause prices to go up, would, over all, be worse for that family than the $3 an hour increase in wage.

2) There are a lot of Americans opposed to this tax, and they should not be subjected to the will of the people who do want it
As my opponent brought up, about 57% of people support a carbon tax. That means there are over a hundred million people opposed to it. Why should these people be forced to comply to this law that a small majority support? You can reduce the number of people who have to put up with a law they reject by leaving the carbon tax up to state or local governments. since local governments are more conservative or more liberal than the nation at times, this means there would be more people who support or oppose the carbon tax. Those which are mostly conservative, will oppose the carbon tax most likely. If you left it up to the states, more people would be happier with the government. Why settle for 57% of people happy with the government, when you could have more than that, such as perhaps 70% if you left it up to the states?

3) Taxation is coercion
The reason Taxation is coercion is because the government threatens you with prison and/fines if you refuse to pay them. Threatening someone is part of the definition of coercion. Forcing someone to do something is coercion. You don't have a choice but to pay taxes. And yes, all taxes are coercion. How can you argue it isn't force when you have no choice but to pay it? And I'm not saying this is something unique to carbon taxes, all taxes are coercion. Taxes are immoral because you don't get to choose to live in a country. Every country in the world pretty much taxes. And every valuable piece of land is under the jurisdiction of a government. So, why, should people be forced to pay taxes when they had no choice in where they were born and no choice in having to live under a government?

Sources:
[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com...
[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com...
[3] http://www.irp.wisc.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
byaka2013

Pro

Note that you only replied to my rebuttals/ your opening arguments and ignored the main message. If people use carbon less (which has been a proven effect of a carbon tax by the NYT, Washington Post, and TYT) then they will not have to pay as much.
Now, I support a rebate of this money to the bottom 50%- i.e. they would get some back as the companies would be the major contributors. According to Our Revolution, this rebate could grow to up to 1900 dollars by 2030 (about 2619 in that time"s money says https://smartasset.com...).
Studies have repeatedly shown that, on average the prices go up less than the minimum wage did, and inflation could potentially help this. Besides, why worry about the economy so much? Obviously, it matters, but we should focus on decreasing carbon pollution primarily, in my opinion.
As for your poverty bit, you are making the ridiculous assumption that only one individual would be working. Unlikely, that is. But this carbon tax debate is not a minimum wage debate, so let"s move on.

Fine- leave it up to the states. It doesn"t really matter. However, to be fair, often the more urban the more liberal, so we could get a lot of revenue from this- you"re right. But you were talking about opinion. If the federal government implements this, so every state has this, would that not bring in even more tax revenue?

My tax would not threaten you with prison or more fines unless you refuse but are perfectly capable of paying. Taxes are automatically calculated by whatever store you go to. So, unless you are a large business owner, you wouldn"t have to worry about paying it separate- it would be automatic!

Examining "Taxes are immoral because"" left me confused. Taxes are implemented so the government can pay for itself and their proposals. If almost every country in the world has it, there must be something good and beneficial about it, right?

Thank you for debating, reading, and voting. I hope you have the knowledge now that a carbon tax is an extremely quick way to:
Lower morale for carbon pollution.
Punish companies and corporations who profit from this.
Allow the government to pay for many non fossil fuel proposals, including installing solar panels and wind turbines.

*For your final argument/ closing statements, please make a rebuttal to all my other claims.*
Capitalistslave

Con

I notice there's not been much reason offered by my opponent why Carbon emissions are something bad that the government should tax. I think for this reason, the argument seems weak.

At any rate, I'll address what my opponent has brought up in this final round:

Note that you... ignored the main message....
Are you referring to the 3 benefits of Carbon tax you outlined? Yes, I suppose it's true I've not yet discussed that, so I shall offer a rebuttal now:

1. Lower morale for carbon pollution
Or, what could just happen is companies will just raise their prices of products rather than stop using or lower the rate of carbon emissions they put out. Which, if that's the case, it won't really do anything other than make things more expensive for people.
2. Punish companies and corporations who profit from this

Again, it's not punishing companies and corporations, that cost will just be passed down to the consumer since companies and corporations can and will likely just raise the price of goods they sell.

3. Allow the government to pay for many non fossil fuel proposals, including installing solar panels and wind turbines
Does the government even have business to do these things? Our government is representative of the people(in theory at least) and if the people wanted solar and wind, they would buy them. Having the government do it just enforces the will of some on others. If you want more people to go for solar and wind, you need to have a more convincing argument for reasons why those are beneficial. Now, I would definitely argue nuclear energy would be far superior to any other type... but too many people got scared from that thanks to the media always reporting on nuclear disasters in other countries, without acknowledging the US has never had any such problem, likely because we make the nuclear facilities at a much higher quality and so the chances are much smaller for nuclear failure. If people stopped criticizing nuclear, that would have been a power source probably every company would go to because of how efficient it is, and thus how much more profit would be able to be made off of nuclear.

If people use carbon less (which has been a proven effect of a carbon tax by the NYT, Washington Post, and TYT) then they will not have to pay as much.
Except, why should companies consume less carbon when they can just raise prices?

Now, I support a rebate of this money to the bottom 50%
Now wait a minute, if you support the government giving money back to the bottom 50% to counter that businesses will raise their prices, then this automatically makes another one of your previous points weaker: which is that the government would have more money for alternative energy sources. If they had to use the carbon tax money to give that back to the bottom 50%, then there would likely be very little if anything at all left for those programs. Additionally, this wouldn't do anything in terms of lowering the amount of carbon consumption down.

Studies have repeatedly shown that, on average the prices go up less than the minimum wage did, and inflation could potentially help this. Besides, why worry about the economy so much? Obviously, it matters, but we should focus on decreasing carbon pollution primarily, in my opinion.
You haven't explained a need to decrease carbon pollution, which is vital to your argument.

As for your poverty bit, you are making the ridiculous assumption that only one individual would be working. Unlikely, that is. But this carbon tax debate is not a minimum wage debate, so let"s move on.
If it's just one mother or father in the family with 4 kids, that is very possible. What, you think the kids would work? They can't unless they're 16.

My tax would not threaten you with prison or more fines unless you refuse but are perfectly capable of paying.
Notice what is after "unless", so it does threaten people with prison or more fines. So, it's coercion, as I exactly called it.

Examining "Taxes are immoral because"" left me confused. Taxes are implemented so the government can pay for itself and their proposals. If almost every country in the world has it, there must be something good and beneficial about it, right?
The ends of the taxes if beneficial, yes, but the means are terrible. The means is a coercive threat that if you don't pay taxes, you'll be in prison or else fined with more and more until eventually you'll probably have to go to prison. Every government in the world pretty much has the view that the ends justify the means, but I consider that philosophy immoral. Why has no government tried to fund their programs through voluntary donations?


I'll end with saying that over all, my opponent didn't offer reason why a carbon tax is necessary, just that it would be beneficial to the government and decrease carbon emissions, without explaining why either of these things are good ideas.

I also thank you for debating and any voters who do vote. It's so rare nowadays that people vote in comparison to the earlier days of DDO.

Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by TheMarketLibertarian 1 year ago
TheMarketLibertarian
"We are not trying to harm the corporations- we are trying to simply show them that destroying the environment should not be tolerated."

Right- you'd be destroying industry over the false, deluded, and repeatedly refuted claim of "Global Warming."
Posted by John_C_1812 1 year ago
John_C_1812
No the United States cannot charge a tax on carbon as it is directly involved in land nourishment, and the use of Chemical de-icers on roads, which is the leading cause of infrastructure damage and the major sources of the additional carbon that is added to the air.

If a tax is collected the proceeds should go to desalination of the extremely cold water that is runoff. Also the dredging along the shore lines be stopped and homes placed on barges as to not interfere with the oceans primary protein skimmer.
Posted by John_C_1812 1 year ago
John_C_1812
Precedent set by law requires that the United States should legislate a tax on taxation. In order to charge a tax the Federal, States, and local agents must pay a tax on the amount of taxation that is charged.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Are you arguing the federal government should do this?
Posted by qwzx 1 year ago
qwzx
I cant join because I do not match the Instigator's age and/or rank criteria.
Posted by qwzx 1 year ago
qwzx
I would like to join...could you lower the standards a bit...?
Posted by What50 1 year ago
What50
So basically tax everyone?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheMarketLibertarian 1 year ago
TheMarketLibertarian
byaka2013CapitalistslaveTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I am supposed to explain how Con's arguments prove his point, not go through each and every one of them. Anyay- Con stated that taxation is coercion, and coercion is wrong, and that, I believe, is sufficient grounds not to impose a carbon tax. Pro did not refute this to the best of my knowledge.