As David Leonhardt reports in the New York Times today, "no elected official of any significance," until now, has dared to suggest a carbon tax -- and certainly none of the leading presidential candidates. So what is going on, Leonhardt asks: Is Chairman Dingell proposing a carbon tax only because he knows it will go down in flames? Or is he a real convert who honestly believes, as he opined in the Washington Post recently, that a tax on carbon is the only way "to get the emissions reductions we need"? It's a tough call, but in that same Op-Ed piece, Dingell is careful to declare his independence from both parties on the issue:
I don't expect to overcome ideological Republican opposition to all forms of taxation, but if CEOs, economists, environmentalists and citizens speak out, we could effect real change. I don't pretend to speak for my party on this; I'm trying to speak to common sense and experience.Leonhardt sounds cautiously optimistic that Dingell means what he says. In either case -- whether Dingell is sincere or engaged in some political ruse -- he notes that the Congressman "has a really good argument."