It was sad to see the ignorance of elementary economics on the opinion page on Saturday January 6 in The Guardian.
A fundamental economic principle is that for people to make appropriate decisions about how much to buy and how much to produce, they have to pay the true costs of their activities. If the costs of pollution, for example, are ignored there will be too much pollution and everyone will suffer the consequences.
Paige MacPherson (“New Brunswick calls Trudeau’s bluff”), of the anti-tax organizations Canadians for Affordable Energy and the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, condemns Prime Minister Trudeau’s feeble attempts to introduce a small carbon tax. She simply ignores the overwhelming consensus among economists that greenhouse gas pollution must be made more costly if it is to be reduced.
Similarly, Professor Sylvain Charlebois (“Taxing Meat Unpalatable Proposition”), affiliated with the anti-tax organization The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, at least acknowledges the environmental and health costs of meat production. But then he also proposes that we ignore them. According to him, we should “allow consumers to make their own choices.”
These writers’ recommendations are precisely why we have ended up in our current pickle.
Professor of Economics, UNB,