Sound ridiculous? A tax that no one has to pay? Well, don't laugh just yet. It's been proposed and is being seriously considered by people who should know better.
Apparently, the idea is that carbon taxes will be collected on everything made with carbon, which is pretty much everything, but everyone hates taxes and so these taxes will be refunded to taxpayers at the end of the year. In other words, we will have a carbon tax which will control climate change but it won't cost anything.
"Hi. I was interested in buying a car. Actually I had my eye on that red one over there but when I was in last month the price was only $15,000. I see that now you're asking $25,000. I don't think I can afford that. Looks like no new car for me."
"Just a minute, sir. Not a problem. The extra $10,000 is the refundable carbon tax. You just have to lay out $15,000. We'll lend you the extra $10.000 with no interest. You get the money from the gov't at the end of the year and just give it to us. It's a loan guaranteed by the gov't so we're not worried and you get the car for what you wanted to pay in the first place. We do this for lots of our customers."
"Okay, sounds good. I'll take it."
Of course the refund is supposed to only go to the poorest taxpayers. The whole tax is paid by the rich who get back...nothing. Maybe keep in mind that the income tax was originally only supposed to apply to the top 2% of income earners. Hey, good news. You might be richer than you thought.
[Psst, want a good buy on a slightly used bridge or maybe a constitutional income tax amendment?]