Sunday, September 02, 2007

Carbon Subsidies

Consumption really is an economic problem. We create incentives and disincentives to people to do what they. For most people, not producing carbon in mass quantities (sound like a Conehead don't I) is an economic disincentive. To reduce carbon we've mostly been discussing taxes to discourage the creation of carbon. How about the flip side.

The government in the past has paid farmers not to produce crops when there is a market imbalance in the form of Farm Subsidies. A subsidy to not farm. Really should be called a "Don't farm subsidy" Now imagine if you were paid not to drive a car, or drive less. The logistics wouldn't be too hard. If you don't drive you would get a tax credit of $x per year, or better yet paid that in your refund check. Nothing works better than actually getting something.

If you don't drive or have a car, you claim your subsidy. This would help low income families who can't afford a car tremendously.

To drive a car, it has to be registered. If you want to claim this credit, when you register, you log the number of miles currently on your car. You would have to go to an office odometer place to register. The following year, depending on your mileage you would be eligible for a certain amount of subsidy.

If you need to drive, want to drive you don't claim your subsidy. Don't have to register your miles, nothing changes. If you do want to participate you go through the extra steps.

It would drive increased usage of mass transit, reduce wear and tear on the roads, hopefully relieve congestion. Many people work within distance of their work and they would benefit from being able to pay higher rents. It rewards non-carbon producing instead of penalizing it.



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