Romney and $2 Gas Taxes: Does He Agree with His Adviser?

Mitt Romney has been saying a lot of the right things about global warming and opposing cap and trade legislation.  His record though, as columnist Deroy Murdock points out in the National Review Online, demonstrates a politician that could be described as an alarmist.

Now comes a disturbing piece in the New York Times by one of Romney’s economic advisers, Harvard professor Greg Mankiw.

One tax reform he pushes is to “tax bads rather than goods.”  The “bad” he uses to make his case is driving your car.  It is a “bad” because in part due to global warming.  According to Mankiw:

Economists who have added up all the externalities associated with driving conclude that a tax exceeding $2 a gallon makes sense. That would provide substantial revenue that could be used to reduce other taxes. By taxing bad things more, we could tax good things less.

Romney didn’t make this statement.  However, he would be wise to distance himself from such a recommendation.  Without doing so, it would appear he agrees that a $2 or more gax tax is good policy.

He can’t be both anti-costly carbon regulations and then pro-$2 gas taxes to address, in part, global warming.  Of course, I’m no political consultant.  Holding two contradictory positions isn’t unique for politicians.