A Tax Republicans Love

By Bill Maher

Last week something kind of amazing happened. A Republican-heavy group called The Climate Leadership Council, which is made up of energy companies, environmental groups, and economists, got former Fed chairs Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, plus 27 Nobel laureates, and 15 former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers, mostly Republicans, to sign on in support of its carbon tax plan, which takes much of the money raised by their carbon tax and refunds it to consumers. On the Republican side, this is as much movement toward an actual policy to address global warming that we’ve ever seen, which isn’t saying much, but we’ll take it. Is it going anywhere? No. But it should, and it could, despite the recent failures of global warming initiatives in places like Washington and Arizona. And here’s how: just start talking about it, and use tribalism to your advantage.   

Think of it this way: nobody wanted a giant wall across the southern border until Donald Trump said he wanted it. Soon after that, just about every Republican fell behind him, called for a wall, and now they’re determined to build a wall that, up until 2016, no one had wanted or asked for. Now, Democrats aren’t as blindly allegiant as Republicans, but they follow their leaders, too. Recently, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez proposed a 70 percent top marginal tax rate on income over $10,000,000. Soon after that, lots of liberals start advocating for it, and now everybody, right and left, is debating it. 

Don’t underestimate the ability of outspoken leaders to propose policies that, because of the nature of our tribal politics, instantly have support just because they came from your side. So why not speak up about a carbon tax that rebates the money to the American consumer? It’s only the future of the planet and, in this case, it is actually good policy. Some Republicans might even think so too… Unless Nancy Pelosi or Elizabeth Warren propose it. Because they’re “unlikeable.”