And at that moment all commerce will stop, people in the cities will starve, and people will be unable to watch their favorite TV programs. There's no way a politician would be dumb enough to do this, even though when you look at politicians you'd find that hard to believe.
This is an interesting dilemma. To some extent I agree with you, Russ, that Government employees are not the most efficient, insightful and innovative class of workers. I suspect that many politicians get elected because they are very talented at persuading people that they know what they are talking about, but not because they actually do know
what they are talking about, the difference being that a successful business is successful because it actually does know what it is doing.
Nevertheless, I feel that governments do have an essential role to play with regard to the shift from fossil fuels to renewables, which the private sector may not be able to handle in a smooth manner which can avoid economic catastrophe.
As we all should know, governments need taxes to provide the services that they can best provide, such as roads, essential infrastructure, armies, police and judiciary etc.
But just how they raise such taxes is a subject for debate. There's an overall principle that taxes should be fair and equitable, the burden shared equally. But taxation is also used as a means of changing human behaviour.
We put a high tax on products that we know are unhealthy, such as cigarettes and highly-alcoholic drinks, in order to discourage their consumption, but at some point the economic logic breaks down. Instead of placing an even higher tax on cocaine and heroin etc, to discourage their use, most governemtns hand the business over to gangsters, thus depriving themselves of a considerable amount of revenue, and at the same time incurring the great additional expense of combating the gangsters in a very inefficient manner to stop the trade of illicit drugs, as well as providing free board and lodging, with very expensive security arrangements, for all convicted drug addicts and traffickers.
The more successful a government may be in thwarting the illicit drug smugglers, the higher the price of the drug becomes, and the greater the incentive for the smugglers to outsmart the authorities.
So to some extent, Russ, I agree with you. Governments may simply not have the nous, the rationality and the intelligence to assist that necessary transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
Theoretically, the concept of shifting the tax burden from personal income tax and corporate tax to a fossil fuel tax has great merit. The increased energy bills for individuals and companies that would result could be offset by the reduced taxation in other areas, whilst simultaneously promoting the development of tax-free renewables.
Unfortunately, getting that balance right so that no group feels particularly disadvantaged by the change in the taxation policy, is a task which is probably beyond the capabilities of most governments, so I feel a bit pessimistic in this regard.