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Reports about the debate inside the White House over a carbon tax — apparently inspired by the meeting that James A. Baker III, Martin Feldstein, Gregory Mankiw and I held with Gary Cohn last month — get the terms wrong. Our plan, "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," isn't a stand-alone carbon tax, but rather a revenue-neutral, carbon dividends program.

To describe our plan as a carbon tax is akin to describing Social Security as a payroll tax. Focusing exclusively on the funding mechanism ignores that which makes both Social Security and our proposal popular and populist. As James Baker emphasized at our press conference after our White House meeting: "This is a proposal for carbon dividends to the American people. And that's going to be the beauty of it in terms of building public support."

Here are the details:

  1. A gradually increasing, revenue-neutral carbon tax;
  2. Whose proceeds are rebated to the American people via monthly dividends;
  3. Border carbon adjustments to protect American competitiveness;
  4. A roll-back of regulations that are no longer necessary once a meaningful carbon tax is in place.

Why Republicans should embrace it: Sooner or later, the GOP will face a climate replay of the healthcare debacle now engulfing it. The only successful path to repealing a major program is by replacing it with something better. For now, the Trump administration is pursuing a repeal-only climate strategy. We are offering the GOP a replacement program that is an insurance policy for our climate, that would be considerably more effective than the Obama-era climate regulations it would replace, and is an economic support program for America's struggling working class. Embracing carbon dividends could be a strategic bonanza for the GOP.

Ted Halstead is founder, President and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council. The opinions expressed are his own

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
10 mins ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.

58 mins ago - Technology

Exclusive: Facebook's blackout didn't dent political ad reach

Photo: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans saw more political ads on Facebook in the week before the 2020 election than they did the prior week despite the company's blackout on new political ads during that period, according to Global Witness, a human rights group that espouses tech regulation.

Why it matters: The presidential election was a key stress test for Facebook and other leading online platforms looking to prove that they can curb misinformation. Critics contend measures like the ad blackout barely made a dent.

Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery. But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.