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Graphic Element, Right Gutter

This Month's Featured "Directions"

The left and the right came together in January to celebrate...energy taxes. First, Gregory Manikow, a full-time Harvard economics professor and part-time Republican economics advisor advocated energy taxes as "good" taxes in his list of annual New Year's Resolutions:

"This year I will admit that there are some good taxes...I will tell the American people that a higher tax on gasoline is better at encouraging conservation than are heavy handed CAFE regulations. It would not only encourage people to buy more fuel-efficient cars, but it would encourage them to drive less, such as by living closer to where they work...I will advocate a carbon tax as the best way to control global warming. Because as we may well need to raise more revenue (see Resolution #1), I'll always be on the lookout for these good taxes." Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2006

A few weeks later, New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman spelled it out even more clearly, "The one thing we can do now to cope with all four of these trends is to create a tax that fixes the pump price at $3.50 to $4 a gallon - no matter where the OPEC price goes. Because if consumers know that the price of oil is never coming down, they will change their behaviour. And when consumers change their behaviour in a big way, G.M., Ford and DaimlerChrysler will change their cars in a big way, and it is cars and trucks that consume a vast majority of the world's oil.

The more Detroit goes green, the faster it will be propelled down the innovation curve, making it more likely that Detroit - and not Toyota or Honda or the Chinese - will dominate the green technologies of the 21st century. A permanent gasoline tax will also make solar, wind and biofuels so competitive with oil that it will drive their innovations as well.

George Bush may think he is preserving the American way of life by rejecting a gasoline tax. But if he does not act now - starting with his State of the Union speech - he will be seen as the man who presided over the decline of our way of life. He will be the American president who ignored the Sputniks of our day." NY Times, January 22, 2006