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Rudd Cutting Toxic Green Taxes


Having tidily dispatched his nemesis Julia Gillard in a labor party leadership struggle last month, Kevin Rudd is setting his sights on winning the next Australian elections scheduled for September 14. Step one: slash a politically toxic carbon tax, and make up for the lost revenue by cutting several green programs. NY Times:

“The government has decided to terminate the carbon tax, to help cost-of-living pressures for families and to reduce costs for small business,” Mr. Rudd said at a news conference.

Mr. Rudd, who signed onto the Kyoto Protocol as his first official act as leader in 2007 and once famously called combating climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our time,” framed Tuesday’s announcement in terms more economic than environmental.

Australians are clearly spooked by the prospect of the end of the long China boom and the attendant slump in commodities purchases. It looks like the easy times are over for them, and so there’s much more anxiety about the future and more skepticism about expensive green policy soufflés. As we’ve seen over and over again, when a country is forced to choose between ensuring its prosperity and falling on its sword in order to preserve climate change policies of dubious efficacy, it turns out it’s not much of a choice at all.

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  • Jim__L

    Has VM’s thinking changed, on the desirability of a carbon tax?

  • crocodilechuck

    The superficial, erroneous ‘analysis’ on this site never ceases. Kevin Rudd moved from a ‘carbon price’ to an emissions trading scheme (which was always on the cards) one year early:

  • ljgude

    That’s a detailed and helpful article Crocidilechuck – thanks. After reading Carbon Editor Peter Hannam in the SMH I would have to say that Rudd’s move is more a classic hip pocket pre election move than any deep shift in Green policy. Here in Perth WRM’s basic point that Australia is concerned with the China slowdown is spot on. You can see it in the malls and the shopping districts – like Subiaco. Of course Perth has been the leading Australian boomtown with its real estate becoming some of the most expensive in the world. In my experience Australian consumers cut back in anticipation or harder times more than Americans who, for example, demonstrated a capacity to spend right through the dotcom bubble in the early 2000s. I also think this is a canny move by Rudd who can sell himself without having to carry the ball of incumbency against Abbot. One of the key ways he can blunt the Liberal’s (conservative party for you Yanks) reputation for fiscal management is to demonstrate the government’s willingness to make cuts. Given what has happened to my electricity bill – I hear Rudd loud and clear. Even though the polls have been showing that Labor is on the nose with the electorate, I’m not counting them out and won’t be surprised if Labor wins the election.

  • Atanu Maulik

    Where ever you look, wheels are coming off the global green movement. Great news for the future of global economy.

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