The Latte Sipping, Croissant Eating Carbon Taxers

January 2, 2020

by Rob Roper

Bill Schubart perfectly encapsulated the elitist, totally-out-of-touch mindset of Vermont’s carbon taxers in his latest VT Digger column in which he congratulates himself for heroically purchasing an electric car and supporting Vermont’s participation in the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), the left’s latest carbon tax scheme.

Much of Schubart’s piece focuses on why electric vehicles in their present state of development don’t make a lot of sense in Vermont. They perform poorly in cold weather, which we have an abundance of, and they don’t have sufficient range to be practical in a rural state, especially for work. But, no fear, Schubart is morally up to the task of living with and around these shortcomings, writing what to my mind is the money-line of the piece: “…if it’s freezing cold and I have a round trip to Montpelier [from Hinesburg], a stop at Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex for a quick charge, a latte and a croissant isn’t much of a price to pay for doing my part.”

What part? Apart from virtue signaling, Schubart’s EV purchase and support for TCI accomplish precisely nothing in regard to climate change while inflicting unnecessary pain on a lot of people. This is immoral. According to TCI’s own analysis, if the region did not adopt TCI, carbon emissions would drop by 19% over ten years anyway. If we adopt the mildest recommendation (5¢ tax), that number will go to 20%. Almost imperceptible. If we go whole hog (17¢ tax), the number goes to 25%. A 6% very minor regional change with no perceptible climate impact on a global scale whatsoever, but at a cost of over $50 billion – that’s with a “B” – in regressive, highly disruptive taxes on working people. Some of that money will be used to subsidize electric vehicle purchases, leaving owners like Schubart with more disposable income to spend on French pastry and fancy coffee. Not a particularly equitable arrangement.

Schubart opines, I imagine wiping buttery crumbs from his lips with a silk handkerchief, “It’s disheartening to hear special interests and climate deniers [he earlier made specific reference to EAI] froth on about their temporal material interests.” Yeah, temporal material interests like driving to and for work, getting our kids to school, going to the grocery store, etc., all of which you want to make more difficult and more expensive just so you can feel good about yourself without actually having to accomplish anything.

I’m happy for Bill Schubart that he can afford the time and money to nibble croissants, sip lattes, and indulge in fantasies that he’s heroically saving generations from future fire, floods and famine during the time it takes his $40K car to charge, but these are not luxuries most working Vermonters can afford. Forcing this burden upon them – especially when doing so will have no impact whatsoever on the problem you claim to want to solve — is nothing more than self-indulgent cruelty. It’s certainly not something to break your arm patting yourself on the back over. This is what folks like Bill Schubart don’t understand or care to contemplate.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Lutz January 3, 2020 at 9:56 am

$56 billion dollars to reduce co2 (the stuff plants need to survive) by 5% over 10 years. These numbers were provided by the Lt. Governor yesterday on WVMT radio. He said he’d support the tax IF the money showed a significant impact on the environment and the working class could have a tax break to offset the cost of the tax. Can’t make this stuff up.

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Mark Donka January 3, 2020 at 11:13 pm

When you have senator’s like Senator Clarkson who does not work for a living. She has no idea how many Vermonters are struggling, but I know she will support the Carbon tax. They can’t seem to see beyond there progressive ideas, when the rest of the Country is in an economic resurgence VT is lagging behind the rest of the Country.

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William Hays January 4, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Help! Can you explain what “lattes” and “croissants” are? I assume they are comestibles, but I have never had any. P. S.: never tried a “bagel”, either. Does that make me a certified “Deplorable”?

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Victoria Hudson January 10, 2020 at 4:12 pm

I found Bill Schubart’s opinion piece a bit insufferable, also; so, I appreciate this perspective, especially given that California’s Cap-and-Trade program has come under fire (with GHGs actually increasing as a result of the gaming of the system by big gas). “A revelatory November report by ProPublica delineates how the oil industry has successfully gamed the cap-and-trade program. The system is supposed to force a gradual decline in carbon dioxide emissions by issuing polluting companies an annually decreasing number of permits to pollute, but it has granted so many exceptions that the program is nearly toothless. As a result, since the beginning of cap and trade in 2013, emissions from oil and gas sources — generated by production, refining and vehicle fuel consumption — have increased by 3.5%, according to ProPublica’s analysis. This is alarming, not least because the last of those categories, the transportation sector, is the leading source of emissions in the state.”
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-01-02/cap-and-trade-california-oil-and-gas-industry

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