Rodney Hide demolishes Russel Norman and his Carbon Tax

Rodney Hide tears apart Russel Norman and his unwanted Carbon Tax.

Financial whiz Dr Russel Norman is promising a new tax, one that will make us rich. His CO2 emissions tax will make “New Zealand households … several hundred dollars better off every year.”

Cool. A tax to make us rich. I don’t know why other political parties haven’t thought of it. Their old-fashioned taxes only make us poor. They, too, should be doing a Russel-Norman.

I also don’t know why Dr Norman isn’t doubling his tax. Why be stingy? Doubling it would make us thousands of dollars better-off. If he quadrupled it, we could all retire.

But maybe that’s his plan. He says his tax will “initially” be set at $25 a tonne.

Politicians normally deliver a new tax promising it won’t go up. But not Dr Norman. His only promise is for the initial rate. He clearly has a higher rate in mind.

Good. The higher he cranks it, the richer we get.

Fascinating isn’t it. In the old days people who made promises like Russel Norman were called snake oil salesmen.

I don’t profess to understand how his tax works. Somehow he taxes us on our CO2 emissions but then gives us back the money through tax cuts. I sort of get that bit.

But I am struggling to see how he gives back more than he takes. That’s what he promises. There’s something about the Russel-Norman that multiplies the money as it passes through government.

It could be that taxing CO2 is special or that Russel Norman himself is special. Certainly, no other tax returns more than it taxes. But the Russel-Norman does.

All other taxes also distort prices leaving us making poorer decisions than otherwise.

Income taxes discourage investment and employment. Capital gains taxes discourage trade, investment and entrepreneurship. And so on.

The resulting cost is what is known as the deadweight cost.

But it seems there’s no deadweight with a Russel-Norman. Sure, it changes our behaviour. That’s its point. It’s to make us give up the V8 in favour of the bike. And to plant trees where we once grazed cows.

Wonderful magical green taxes to paraphrase Homer Simpson.

In fact, the Russel-Norman’s purpose is to change our behaviour so dramatically that we swap industrialised living for a pre-industrial lifestyle more in keeping with how the earth wants us to live.

It does all this at no cost. Somehow the Russel-Norman swaps out fossil fuels for solar and wind and makes us richer. I can’t begin to figure that out.

This is why I call them the Green taliban…they are anti-progress.

Of course, the getting richer part is just the sugar. Dr Norman’s purpose is to tackle “the biggest issue of all time.”  Bigger than the Depression.  Bigger than World War II.  Bigger than bubonic plague.

What’s getting richer compared to that? Dr Norman only pumps the getting richer meme so as not to scare-off votes.

He’s also emphatic it’s urgent. We can’t afford to muck about. It’s worse than we thought. We face a “genuine catastrophe.”

Our weather is rubbish. And getting worse. It’s disrupting lives and costing money.

Our government is clueless. Can’t think it through. Lacks vision.

“We’re basically playing Russian Roulette with two bullets instead of one.”

We must act. We can’t wait. “We are on the cusp of something extraordinary or something unthinkable – a global green revolution or a global catastrophe.”

We desperately need the Russel-Norman. A tax to deal to a problem bigger than World War II, the Depression and the Plague all at once.

We must go Green, save the planet and get rich. What a plan! What a vision!

Years ago an old man grumbled to me. GST. Bah. He didn’t think taxing food was right. “What’s next? The air we breathe?” Nope. Our new tax is on a trace gas that we all breathe out.

 


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