Editor's Note: Easy Relief


Virtually everyone agrees that global warming is a problem, and we in Washington state ought to be a part of the solution. 

What few people realize is that there is a simple, pain-free remedy that would also create jobs: taxing carbon-based energy and using the revenues to cut B&O taxes and sales taxes. That simple adjustment would encourage all of us — consumers and businesses alike — to become more energy efficient without increasing the overall amount we spend on taxes. That’s what British Columbia did in 2008 with great success (see page 24). It’s something we should do, too.

As described by Yoram Bauman, an economist at the nonprofit Carbon Washington, here’s how it would work: Fossil fuels like gasoline, coal and natural gas, which account for about 85 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state, would be taxed at a rate of $25 for every ton of carbon dioxide emitted. (The current rate in British Columbia is $30 Canadian per ton.) That tax, which raises product prices to account for the damage their production and use inflict on the planet, would increase gasoline prices by 25 cents a gallon and power generated by natural gas by about 1.2 cents a kilowatt hour to about 10 cents. 

Now here’s the good part: The revenue raised by the carbon tax would be used to reduce existing taxes, including cutting the state sales taxes by 11 percent. For most people, the lower sales tax would make up for higher spending on gas and utilities. Those who are more aggressive about reducing their carbon footprints would end up saving money. 

Under the proposed carbon tax plan, B&O taxes would be eliminated for manufacturers because their competitiveness would be dramatically affected by higher energy prices. A carbon tax also unfairly affects low-income citizens, so the plan would include a Working Families Rebate for the poor. A study released last year by Regional Economic Models Inc. estimated that such a plan would create as many as 40,000 jobs during the next 20 years, thanks to the proposed cuts in business taxes.

However, politicians say a carbon tax can’t pass the Legislature because Washington residents won’t accept anything called a tax. So most insiders expect Governor Jay Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force to recommend a more complex alternative called a cap-and-trade system, which involves putting a cap on greenhouse gases and allowing companies to trade allowances to discharge those pollutants. 

Of course, cap and trade is just a carbon tax in different garb. Unless accompanied by tax cuts in other areas, cap and trade would raise money that could end up being used to fund every politician’s pet project. We prefer the simpler, more direct approach that doesn’t increase overall taxes yet still creates clear market incentives to shrink our carbon footprint.

Final Analysis: Would You Go to Work for Donald Trump?

Final Analysis: Would You Go to Work for Donald Trump?

Or would you rather end up on his enemies list?

Imagine getting a call inviting you to work for your country.

Now imagine your new boss is Donald J. Trump.

Would you move to Washington, D.C., to work for the president of the United States? For this president of the United States?

From what we know through simple observation, Donald Trump suffers from chronic narcissism, he doesn’t read much, he rarely smiles, he has a vindictive streak, he treats women badly, he has the argumentative skills of a bruised tangerine, he fears foreigners almost as much as he fears the truth and he spends his waking hours attached to marionette strings being manipulated by Steve “I Shave on Alternate Thursdays” Bannon.

Sure, you’ve probably suffered under bad bosses. But this guy takes the plagiarized inauguration cake. He thinks it’s OK to assault women. He made fun of a journalist’s disability. He said a judge couldn’t be impartial because of his ethnic heritage. He doesn’t pay people who have done work for him. He has been a plaintiff in nearly 2,000 lawsuits.

We have to assume that Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who got herself fired in January for standing up to President Trump’s ban on accepting immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, has probably updated her résumé by now. No doubt she proudly included a mention that she torched the president whose approval rating after one week in office had dropped faster than it had for anchovy-swirl ice cream.

If I worked for Trump, it would most likely be a challenging assignment. I try to be gracious and diplomatic with supervisors and coworkers, but I draw the line with people who lie to me. Or lie to others and put me in an awkward position. With them, I’m not so gracious, and I don’t hold my tongue. Which would probably get me early induction into the Sally Yates Hall of Flame.

Or maybe on the president’s enemies list. None other than Trump’s reality-TV pal, Omarosa Manigault, has revealed that the president possesses a long memory — longer, even, than his neckties — and that his people are “keeping a list” of those who don’t like him.

I know I should give my president the benefit of the doubt, but I’m happy to make an exception in this case. I don’t like Donald Trump. And I would be honored to be on his enemies list. Not since I played pickup baseball in grade school have I had such an urge to scream, “Pick me! Pick me!” Being added to a Presidential Enemies List would be such a treat, a career topper, really. Better than submitting to a colonoscopy without anesthesia. Or watching reruns of Celebrity Apprentice. Without anesthesia.

If selected, I would pledge to save my best words for the president and I would only use them in the bigliest way.

Of course, making the enemies list means I might never get the call to join the new administration. I might never get to engage in locker-room banter with POTUS. I might never get to untangle the marionette strings. I might never get to buy razors for Steve Bannon.

It is a sobering realization. But we must serve where we are best suited.

John Levesque is the managing editor of Seattle Business magazine. Reach him at john.levesque@tigeroak.com.