Accuracy in Media

In Maryland, like in many other states, candidates carrying the designation of “libertarian” emerged on the ballot. In Maryland, the libertarian Senate candidate was Kevin Zeese, a former official of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He wants the government to leave him alone so he can smoke dope. Generally speaking, libertarians are supposed to favor limited government and low taxes. Yet, the libertarian magazine Reason has astonished many observers by publishing an article that seems to be endorsing global taxes and the world government such a scheme would entail.

In an article about the collapse of the global warming treaty, Ronald Bailey argues that “man-made global warming is a global problem” and that the solution has to be global in scope. “One suggestion is a global carbon tax,” he says. Bailey served as the 1993 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a pro-free market think-tank. He had been considered one of the best and brightest thinkers in this critical area of environmental policy.

After citing an article on the matter, Bailey says, “?.a carbon tax is not a goody, but the pain it causes is more easily administered and monitored. First, the tax offers stability; governments, industries and consumers all see what the price of carbon based fuels will be. Second, it can be far more transparently administered across the globe. If a country fails to charge the agreed upon tax, other countries can boost their tariffs on exports from that country as a way to encourage it to join the global climate tax regime. Third, the tax can be adjusted over time to meet agreed upon global goals such as ultimate level to which to [sic] greenhouse gases should be allowed to accumulate in the atmosphere. And fourth, poor countries could be made exempt from the tax until the average incomes of their citizens reach some agreed upon level.”

The idea that a global tax could be “easily administered and monitored” makes sense only in the context of creating a world government or using existing international institutions. But it’s hard to see how any of this could be “easily administered and monitored.” Indeed, such a scheme sanctions governmental control of peoples’ lives, under the guise of regulating their use of energy, and threatens the sovereignty of nations.

It is amazing that Reason, a magazine of “free minds and free markets,” would publish an article promoting governmental interference, this time at the global level. It represents the kind of stale liberal thinking that is quite popular at the United Nations, where officials are pushing not only a global carbon tax, but an international tax on airline travel, a global currency transactions tax, and other measures designed to bring in trillions of dollars to international bureaucracies.

Reason is published by the Reason Foundation, whose trustees and officers include many successful businessmen and prominent individuals dedicated to promoting the free enterprise system.

Despite his reference in the article to the possibility of a global carbon tax, Bailey tells me in an email that he did not mean the carbon tax to be a “global tax” in the sense that it would be collected by the U.N. or other international agency. He explained, “I would oppose any such global tax. Instead the carbon tax would an internationally harmonized tax that would be collected by national governments and spent by national governments. Perhaps as an offset to income taxes or other taxes, but that’s a much longer discussion.”

The concept of an “internationally harmonized tax” seems to imply a global governmental mechanism. What’s more, his article refers to a “global climate tax regime,” international pressure on countries to agree to the tax, and using the proceeds to “meet agreed upon global goals.”

If this is not a world government, I don’t know what it is.

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