Media Ignore Congressman Dingell’s ‘Painful’ Tax Plan to Solve Global Warming

It has been regularly reported by NewsBusters that media are doing everything in their power to withhold from the public the financial ramifications of global warming alarmism.

Be it the marketing of totally useless carbon offsets, or proposals for additional taxes on consumers and corporations, press outlets have been seemingly coordinated in their silence regarding such matters.

Another fine example of such a boycott occurred last week when House Energy and Commerce Committee chair John Dingell (D-MI) discussed a rather elaborate tax plan with the Associated Press Wednesday that virtually no major media outlet outside of Detroit bothered to report (emphasis added throughout):

Dealing with global warming will be painful, says one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress. To back up his claim he is proposing a recipe many people won't like _ a 50-cent gasoline tax, a carbon tax and scaling back tax breaks for some home owners.

"I'm trying to have everybody understand that this is going to cost and that it's going to have a measure of pain that you're not going to like," Rep. John Dingell, who is marking his 52nd year in Congress, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Though this was covered by Washington Post.com, a LexisNexis search indicated that it did not make the print edition. Newspapers such as the New York Times and USA Today also thought Dingell's proposal - which ended up being posted at his website Thursday - wouldn't interest their readers.

As for television, not one network - cable or broadcast - said a word about Dingell's plan. Not one.

Were the media collectively trying to hide from the public some of the specifics:

A tax on carbon dioxide emissions:

  • $50 / ton of carbon dioxide (phased in over 5 years and then adjusted for inflation)
    • Coal, including lignite and peat
    • Petroleum and any petroleum product
    • Natural gas

A tax on gasoline:

  • .50/ gallon of gas, jet fuel, kerosene (petroleum based) etc...(added to current gas tax) (phased in over 5 years and then adjusted for inflation)
    • Exemption for diesel - The fuel economy benefits of diesel surpass even its emissions benefits; it provides about a thirty percent increase in fuel economy and a twenty percent emissions reduction
    • Biofuels that do not contain petroleum are exempt. Biofuels blended with petroleum are only taxed on the petroleum portion of the fuel.

**The .50 gas tax is in addition to what is derived from the per ton carbon dioxide tax in the previous bullet.

Phase out the mortgage interest deduction on large homes. These homes have contributed to increased sprawl and longer commutes. Despite new homes in and of themselves being more energy efficient, the sheer size, sprawl and commutes lead to dramatically more energy use - or to put it more simply, a larger carbon footprint.

Specifically, the proposal:

  • Phases out the mortgage interest on primary mortgages on houses over 3000 square feet.
    • Exemptions for historical homes (prior to 1900) and farm houses.
    • Exemptions for home owners who purchase carbon offsets to make home carbon neutral or own homes that are certified carbon neutral.
    • An owner would receive 85% of the mortgage interest deduction for homes 3000-3199 square feet
    • 70% for homes 3200-3399 square feet
    • 55% for homes 3400-3599 square feet
    • 40% for homes 3600-3799 square feet
    • 25 % for homes 3800-3999 square feet
    • 10% for homes 4000-4199 square feet
    • 0 for homes 4200 square feet and up

Certainly, these are some extraordinary measures to solve a problem that scientists aren't sure exists, and aren't convinced is caused by anything man is doing.

Yet, regardless of where one stands on this debate, shouldn't media be making the public aware of what legislators are proposing concerning this issue?

This seems especially logical given Dingell's feedback request posted at his website Thursday:

Before introducing a formal bill, the Congressman is inviting constituents and other interested parties to review his current proposal and provide feedback. A summary of the draft legislation has been posted on Dingell's Congressional website along with a form that allows reviewers to offer opinions and suggestions on the carbon tax proposal.

With this in mind, why was Dingell's plan universally boycotted?

Press outlets spent a great deal of time last week covering the health care proposal of a woman who isn't even in the White House, and whose plan won't be debated in Congress until at least 2009 if at all.

Shouldn't media report proposals legislators will be discussing in the coming weeks? Or is that just too much like journalism?

*****Update: NBer jdhawk noticed something in Dingle's proposal that I overlooked -- hey, it's a Saturday, and there's football on! -- and offered further insight into why media buried this story:

The worst part about this old fart's plan is that the revenue brought in by these additional taxes,if the legislation is passed, are not earmarked to solve the "problem" of global warming whatsoever.

jd was quite correct, for here's what Dingle proposed:

The revenue from the gas tax goes into the high way trust fund, with 40 % going to the mass transit and 60 % going to roads. The revenue from the tax on jet fuel goes into the airport and airway trust fund.

Finally, the revenue from the fee on carbon emissions will go into the following accounts:

  • Medicare and Social Security
  • Universal Healthcare (upon passage)
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Conservation
  • Renewable Energy Research and Development
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Isn't that great? Let's raise taxes supposedly to solve global warming so that we can give more money to Medicare, Social Security, Universal Healthcare, etc.

Folks, this has NOTHING to do with solving global warming. In fact, as NewsBusters has been reporting for months, this whole issue is about raising taxes to fund programs that have virtually no connection to reducing carbon emissions.

What a disgraceful charade this is. That said, wouldn't it be nice if media were exposing the hypocrisy rather than being a part of it?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.