1. You are member of President Obama’s second term Green Team. You are charged with looking for ways to correct inefficient markets, while raising revenue for the federal government. Your mission: give Obama the words he needs to explain why corrective taxes are not just “raising taxes.” You need to give Obama the arguments he needs to convince Congress and the voters.
You meet with Obama to discuss your proposed a tax on carbon emissions. He asks you to prepare a two page memo that answers to the following questions:
a. How is a “green tax” different from a regular tax?
b. How would a green tax increase market efficiency?
c. With respect to the carbon tax, why don’t we just increase the federal gasoline excise tax?
d. Where have green taxes been used before in the U.S.?
e. What’s wrong with starting with something like the Clear Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards for SO2 but for carbon?
f. What is the European Union doing about carbon emissions and why don’t we just do that?
g. Why do you prefer a carbon tax to cap-and-trade in this case?
h. Why do you want to require that the expression “Go Green!” be painted on the outside
of all Big 10 football and basketball stadiums as part of this administration’s Green
_____________________________ OR ___________________________________
2. While you’re meeting with your buddy Barack, a representative from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a lobbying organization, and his buddy from Phillip Morris Company (huge cigarette manufacturer) drop by to complain that the U.S. Trade Representative is not being a Green Team Player. The Trade Representative is negotiating the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement that includes the U.S. and seven Asian countries. Phillip Morris has asked the Trade Rep to work hard to eliminate all tariffs (taxes) on all products within the TPP, including tobacco. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees – this would make trade “fair.” However, the Trade Rep disagrees. She does not want to push to eliminate the tariffs on tobacco that these countries impose. Barack asks you to write a two page memo that answers the following clarifying questions.
a. Do we tax cigarettes in the U.S. at the federal level? State level?
b. Why do we tax cigarettes, and what has been the effect on consumption in the U.S.?
c. Why do countries like China and Vietnam impose high tariffs on imported cigarettes?
d. How large is the cost of smoking-related disease in these countries? For example, do we have an estimate of the economic loss that the developing world will suffer from non-communicable diseases in the next 20 years?
e. Do you agree with the Chamber of Commerce that the Trade Rep is not being a Green Team Member?
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