– Obama Vetoes a Carbon Tax—in Europe (Wall Street Journal, Nov 27, 2012):
At last a levy the White House doesn’t like.
President Obama has said he’s going to continue his crusade against carbon energy in a second term, and we believe him. Yet there he was Tuesday signing a bipartisan bill shielding U.S. airlines from paying a carbon tax merely for flying to Europe.
The European Union imposed its scheme to tax foreign airlines this year in one of its aren’t-we-virtuous climate change gestures. Never mind that the tax ignored the usual multilateral forum for dealing with international aviation issues. The move drew a furious reaction from China and U.S. airlines, which estimated the tax would cost them $3.1 billion through 2020. The costs would be passed along to airline passengers.
Congress may love taxes, but not if foreigners are taxing Americans and keeping the money. So in September the Senate passed by rare unanimous vote a bill directing the Transportation Secretary to protect U.S. carriers from the air tax if he deems it necessary, and the House followed upon returning after the election.
“The Obama Administration is firmly committed to reducing harmful carbon pollution from civil aviation both domestically and internationally,” said a White House spokesman on Tuesday, but “the application of the EU [tax] to non-EU air carriers is the wrong way to achieve that objective.” It’s good to know there’s at least one tax this Administration doesn’t like.