The most common narrative spun by opponents of regulating of carbon dioxide is that doing anything to intentionally raise energy prices is tantamount to crushing the American economy. Some of the loudest supporters of that narrative are titans of industry who argue that putting a price on carbon would effectively drive America back to the age of the horse and buggy. But Elon Musk is not your average titan. At a recent conference in Santa Barbara, the founder of PayPal, XPrize and Tesla Motors voiced his support for a carbon tax to address carbon emissions.
But the Wall Street Journal article reporting on the panel thought so little of that nugget that the quote where Musk offers support is the article’s very last sentence.
Speaking about government subsidies on a panel at the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, Musk said that subsidies can be good but that they are usually bad. In the case of Tesla, the $465 million loan guarantee the company received from the Department of Energy in 2010 was the critical factor was the investment by Daimler, not the DOE loan.
And that was the story that The Wall Street Journal in their article: “Tesla CEO Says Government Subsidies Usually Bad.” Choosing to emphasize an “I told you so smugness” rather than bring more attention to Musk’s support for a carbon tax, the Journal article buried the lead.
The take-home from Musk is that subsidies may be good and may be bad as policy tools, but they are inferior to a carbon tax.
“The ideal would be to tax CO2,” said Musk.
Article by Timothy Hurst, appearing courtesy ecopolitology.