Eighty-six MPs re-launch debate on carbon tax

What are the taxes for? Their primary function is to finance the common expenses of a nation: the army, the police, the school as well as any activity which is considered to be better assured by the public power than by the private sector. Taxation also ensures financial redistribution among citizens by imposing higher incomes than poor households. Finally, taxation can also be a tool for guiding the behavior of economic actors: taxing what is considered good and taxing what seems harmful.

Over time all these functions have tended to mix. To complicate matters further, the levy mechanisms have also multiplied: direct and indirect taxes, social levies, specific taxes … Add to this the methods of application which are diversified to infinity under the effect of the various groups of pressure. Which leads to a simple result. The latest edition of the General Tax Code has 3,638 pages. Who could be there, if not full-time professionals? Faced with this heap of norms, who does not feel the fear of being fooled?

Therefore, to put back on the table today an increase in the carbon tax, as just 86 majority MPs have done, has something of a vaguely suicidal heroism. Suicidal not for the signatories of the text but for the purpose – necessary – to reduce our energy consumption. The very idea of ​​"punitive" taxes is counterproductive. Without a clarification of all levies, without a citizens' adherence to some well-defined objectives, failure will still be at the rendezvous.

Guillaume Goubert



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