Gore Goes Right-Wing on Payroll Taxes, But Supports Tax on Exhaling

When Al Gore was vice president, I don’t recall him ever saying that payroll taxes amount to “penalizing employment,” as he now says:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Monday suggested taxing carbon dioxide emissions instead of employees’ pay in a bid to stem global warming.”Penalizing pollution instead of penalizing employment will work to reduce that pollution,” Gore said in a speech at New York University School of Law.

The pollution tax would replace all payroll taxes, including those for Social Security and unemployment compensation, Gore said…

We now know what it takes to get a leftie to stop taxing work: A tax on life itself.In all seriousness, Gore may not — though no article I’ve seen addresses the issue — consider CO2 produced by human lungs to be “pollution,” even as he regards CO2 made by humans by other means as such.

I assume the lefties who regard every conservative proposal to improve social Security with the addition of a personal account option for younger workers as “risky” will be all over Gore for suggesting that Social Security taxes be eliminated in favor of a carbon dioxide-production tax.

Gore says such a tax would be revenue-neutral (though we really would need it to be more to save Social Security and Medicare without reforms) but none of the articles on this proposal I could find referenced any formal proposal Gore was making available that discuss his proposal in more detail. If he has one, I’d love to read it.

Hat tip: Drudge Report.

Addendum, 9/24/06: Productivity Shock blog appears to disagree with something I’ve said here, though it is unclear what. I gather that because Milton Friedman has suggested taxing pollution, that 1) I shouldn’t mention never having heard Gore complain about payroll taxes before; 2) I shouldn’t wonder if CO2 produced by lungs should be subject to the tax; 3) I should not wonder how lefties who hate the idea of Social Security private accounts would react to the notion of ending the payroll taxes that finance Social Security; 4) I shouldn’t have hinted around that if anyone knows of a detailed version of this Gore proposal I’d like to see one.

It is just amazing, the things I am not supposed to do because Milton Friedman has an opinion.

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