Carbon Tax Mischief; Punishing Energy Production Endangers America's Independence

Article excerpt


Good news: American oil production has reached its highest point in two decades. The bad news, though, is when liberals see all that fossil fuel flowing, their first instinct is to tax it. For every innovator discovering new methods of propelling U.S. enterprise forward, there's a big-spending Washington bureaucrat scheming to ensure Uncle Sam gets a cut. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill ought to shun plans to solve the nation's financial woes with a levy on prosperity.

The Department of Energy announced Wednesday that U.S. oil production for the week ending Jan. 4 cracked the mark of 7 million barrels a day, its highest level since 1993 and 20 percent more than a year ago. The extraordinary boost has come in spite of government policy, not because of it. America's new-found wealth of black gold is being tapped by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, advanced extraction techniques that have opened access to previously unreachable shale oil reserves. This has put the United States on course to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's top energy producer by 2020.

Most Americans welcome this influx of fuel for the nation's economic engine, but liberals don't see it that way. For them, carbon-dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels are a crime against nature. (Carbon-dioxide emissions from the respiration of liberals and polar bears, on the other hand, are just fine.) The tax on carbon dioxide is meant to be a sin tax to reduce oil use, fueling big government instead of American industry.

Thomas Friedman argued as much in a Jan. …