Maya MacGuineas: There's a blatantly obvious way for the US to fight climate change and pay for new infrastructure

Maya MacGuineas is president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. She recently wrote an opinion piece for Business Insider, an excerpt of which is below:

...But not much time has been dedicated to how massive public investments in infrastructure and climate change should be financed, or how to involve the private sector in tackling these challenges. Relying on borrowing would be counterproductive — studies have found that results from infrastructure spending are better when actually paid for — and could add to an already poor fiscal outlook. The national debt was already growing faster than the economy prior to the pandemic, and borrowing to fight COVID-19 and support the economy has pushed deficits to all-time highs.

However, by raising revenue from carbon-emitting activities, we can simultaneously help fund new infrastructure projects and deter the use of fossil fuels. Some other taxes have similar dual features of generating revenue and putting a price on activities that harm society as a whole, like cigarette taxes. But carbon taxes are especially unique in how this one policy can achieve so many goals at once.

Read the entire piece here.

Published works by members or staff of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget do not necessarily reflect the views of all members or staff of the Committee.