Simple Sam and the Honest Avoidance of Taxes

Posted on April 22, 2011


No, no, Sam, you’ve got it all wrong about the carbon tax.  There’s really no need to be all scaredy cat about it.  A carbon tax wouldn’t be there to raise money.

Don’t laugh.

Yes, I know, I know governments will expect a cut as they always do.  How else are they going to pay to build the dykes to protect you from the floods that climate change brings, and so on?  How else are they going to finance new energy technologies, ones which don’t threaten to unbalance the ecosystem and turn the oceans acid like the ones we use now?  But it’s really not about money.

Will you please stop laughing, Sam.

You see, the point of a carbon tax is to sidestep it, to avoid paying it as much as possible.  That’s what people try to do with most taxes anyway, so the avoiding part should come easy.

“Avoid taxes, that’s your great plan?” asks Simple Sam.

I don’t mean the corporate way out, tax dodges and exemptions from the tax.  I mean honest avoidance.

““Honest avoidance.”  This is going to be good.”

Thank you, Sam.

“I was being sar…”

Anyway, Sam, a carbon tax would apply to gasoline, for instance.  You could avoid the tax by using less gasoline—by driving less, and by cycling, walking or using public transit instead.

Honest avoidance.

You could alternatively get a more fuel efficient motor, or move to a technology which doesn’t burn fuel.

Sam says, “If your electricity is generated by a coal plant, then you get taxed anyway when you tax the coal.  How does that avoid taxes?”

You avoid taxes by shifting from coal plants.  Coal plants are by far the worst polluters in the electric grid and its legitimate to price them out of the energy market.  That’s what we want to do, Sam.  That’s the point.

Anyway by finding a way of using less gasoline, you save not only the tax but potentially the cost of the gasoline itself.  Maybe you get a little more exercise, and your insurance payments go down with reduced vehicle use.  By finding ways to pay less tax, you wind up living a more carbon-efficient lifestyle, and one which could conceivably reduce your expenses overall.  As well, the influence of you and other carbon-tax avoiders on the marketplace would encourage the development of ever more efficient ways of avoiding the tax.

I say it’s a pretty good tax that can reduce your expenses, finance adaptation to a carbon neutral world, improve your health, lower your carbon footprint, stimulate innovation in the marketplace, reduce reliance on foreign oil and save the planet too.

And all you have to do is to avoid paying it as much as possible.  The less you pay the bigger your refund.

Honest avoidance, Sam. It’s the way to go.