Green taxes and ideological barriers: re-framing the debate…

Why is it when green taxes are involved, or say a Green Investment Bank, it’s always “well, it will cost a lot”. If we look at this closer, “cost a lot” is purely boiled down to economic factors – there is a disregard for the cost that the current economic and business practices are resulting in for the environment. There is a disregard for the cost that these businesses do to many countries around the world, who when state their objections are even told to hop on their bike when trying to get water to be recognised as a human right!

An article in the Daily Mail (I know, climate deniers) highlights this quite well. Even though the paper has a strong right-wing skepticism around climate change – it is not atypical of many people’s views towards higher taxes for green policies. The Mail complains:

By 2020 the tax take from green levies will be roughly equivalent to total public spending in England on both the police and fire services, the figures show.

The environment, for me, is equally as important as the police and fire services. In fact, the police and fire services are indirectly and directly affected by environmental changes. Furthermore, there is nothing stopping the government if it chooses to implement more green taxes (which often looks doubtful) to modify the taxes so that they are more redistributive and target those who are most able to pay for them, and especially companies who often take little care on how their practices influence the local, national and international spheres.

Green taxes need not be seen as a burden. They are necessary. It will also help check and balance company practices, which often operate within a moral vacuum. However, it is unfortunate how backwards the government seem to be going in regards to green issues. There needs to be better international policies so that the poorer countries are helped more in terms of their infrastructure and again – it is worrying to see the government u-turn most of its aid commitments.

It includes an abandonment to commitments such as improving water and education for developing countries. Both are really concerning, and have consequential links to other areas too. For example, education is one of the most important tools that can change a person’s life – with education, it can provide people with power and (related) knowledge. It can improve health, power relations (such as gender) and so much more. It’s an absolute disgrace that this can be seen as expendable due to obvious ideological assumptions of economic ‘necessity’.

There needs to be more concern on helping achieve a more sustainable, fair system – however, this can only happen if we stop equating policies that are intending to aid this as a waste of money, as something that will be a heavy inconvenient burden for the tax payer. It is just another one of those convenient lies, to undermine change to the neo liberal system and to make out that those progressives are only out there to construct some kind of oppressive state system that controls your lives.

Again, this is a lie – not all progressives want a massively powerful state system. There are many on the left who want state control for important areas, but for there to be more redistribution and local power – so that progressive aims are integrated within a civil liberty framework.

Only when we can break through these powerful but incorrect barriers, can we really start to change things.


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