Cliff Mass Is Wrong About the Carbon Tax and Seattle's Liberals


1. That's 3, not two.
2. A tax-based solution is as gentle or as severe as we make it, depending on how much we tax per thousand pounds of carbon. Tax a little = business as usual. Tax a lot = bicycling to the community farm. And anywhere in between.
Ex-NPR weatherman Cliff Mass is wrong about many, many things.
Sound Transit's problem is not that they are too slow, it is that they don't know how to prioritize. You don't build a line in the most densely populated part of the state and only put in one station. That is stupid, but that is what Sound Transit did when it build U-Link. They skipped over First Hill (with its high population density, university and high employment). They skipped over 23rd (which would enable good complementary bus service). They even forgot to put in a station next to SR 520, which would enable buses from the suburbs to quickly transfer passengers. This is just one example of their failure to build what makes sense for the region.

They are fixated on building a "spine", or rail line from Everett to Tacoma. No one in the world has built a subway line that long and had it work out. BART is similar, and outside the urban area (San Fransisco/Oakland/Berkeley) it hasn't worked out. Service to cities as big or bigger than Tacoma, but with ridership similar to a typical Metro bus. But most cities don't try that experiment. Our light rail line will extend farther from the center of town than London's. It looks nothing like Vancouver's, nor will it ever if we continue down that road.

People will continue to drive because it will continue to be a much better choice unless Sound Transit changes their ways (or the city picks up the slack). Or, of course, as Matt said, they tax gasoline so high that people will endure terrible bus/train service to avoid paying to drive.
Charles, I know that you like to troll so I can never decide when you're doing so or just being obstinate. The quote you provide doesn't blame liberals for Seattle's public transportation backwardness, it points to said backwardness and says "WTF?! You should be doing better." I assume you agree. I sure as shit do.
What you are saying just doesn't make sense. I hate liberals? I AM A LIBERAL. I am just upset that my liberal colleagues are being so ineffective, dealing with symbols and not reality. I want folks in Seattle to have good mass transportation, to have decent bike lanes into and out of the city, and to do something meaningful about global warming. Does that make me a conservative or some kind of reactionary? Come on...cliff
I like this post Charles.
Don't sweat it, Cliff. Most of the stuff coming from Charles has no connection to reality.

Occasionally entertaining, at least.
You misrepresented his position, Charles. He blames both the left and right for the lack of support for what is obviously a good idea.

There are two proposals, both of which could benefit humanity: one simple, one complicated; one that that will certainly work and one that could fail. Why on earth would you choose the more complicated one -- the one more likely to fail? The only reason I can think of is a stubborn adherence to an ideology with little likelihood of success. Such an attitude is what is naive, Charles.
Came here for the comments.
I love you Charles. This is basically what I was screaming in my head when I saw Cliff Mass's post. I'm annoyed with the market solution, and I'm annoyed with CM's both-sides-are-wrong bullshit. Were only going to combat global warming with giant social programs. The sort of ones america used to have the political muscle to pull off back in the FDR days. To the extent that the left doesn't get it, it's because they're not far left enough. It's as simple as capitalism and incentive.

When the incentive is to save money instead of doing the right thing like invest in the infrastructure that saves people's lives, people die and greed wins, like in flint, michigan. Fuck capitalism.
Y'all need to listen to this motherfucker, Mudede. He's got wisdom. His father was a very high-ranking member of Robert Mugabe's ZANU party and several of his relatives remain in high level positions with the government. If Seattle could just be more like Zimbabwe, all of our problems would be solved.
#1 is correct - a high enough tax would work. Gas really should be $10 a gallon or more to accurately reflect its external cost. Problem is such a tax will never be implemented by a government elected by its citizens.
The fatal flaw to the CarbonWa initiative is that it depends on the false notion that you can negotiate with fascists. Negotiating with fascists never ends well.

It has been infuriating to hear/read the utterly delusional "...the Rs will support this too..." bullshit from initiative supporters such as Professor Mass.

Cliff should stick to the weather.
Graphic is not to scale. A light rail train, a bus, and a car are all about the same width. They should make the cars wider to show how much space they really take.
Let's say it like it is: arguing about Marxist economics while the world gets warmer is a waste of everyone's time. There is almost as much consensus about the most effective means to reduce C emissions as there is about the man-made nature of the problem, and just about all climate scientists agree that a carbon tax is the single most effective means to curb emissions right now.

Marxists like Charles are struggling to stay relevant in a economic world that is much more nuanced than a simple dichotomy between cutthroat capitalism and rule of the proletariat. We might note that self-proclaimed communist nations like Venezuela, DPRK and the ol' USSR have some of the worst environmental legacies in modern history. There is nothing inherently more preservationist about a Marxist scheme.

Cliff Mass proves once again he is the most reasonable voice in the debate. A revenue-neutral carbon tax might actually work, and that scares Marxists who worry their radically simplistic ideology is simply irrelevant today.
Matt @1 kinda captures it. We can't do anything about climate change or our over-dependence on finite fossil fuels unless we collectively agree to inflict pain on ourselves. The only question is, how much pain.

But really, it's not so much pain that we ned to apply; it's change. And the more people have a chance to adapt to change, the less painful it is. But that's what markets are there for--markets are an efficient mechanism by which we can adapt.

I'm a big fan of I-732. I'll take it over the competing carbon-tax initiative that tries to spend the revenues. And I'll take the competing proposal over nothing.

When Charles identifies "capture and arbitrage" as a flaw of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, that's a little bit like Republicans complaining that the federal deficit is too high and then demanding that we cut taxes. The magic of a revenue-neutral carbon tax is precisely that it avoids the capture and arbitrage that is the Achilles heel of cap-and-trade, the conventional, hide-the-pain solution. A carbon tax that spends the revenues rather than plowing them back to the people is also susceptible to powerful players gaming the system, although it's not as inherently fraught as cap-and-trade.

At the national level, a group that's been doing a great job advocating for a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the Carbon Tax Center.
My understanding is that soon driverless vehicles are going to make this moot.
I not sure if this is the MOST intellectually dishonest piece written by Charles, or just ONE of the most intellectually dishonest pieces written by Charles. Take your pick.
The craziest (of many) things about The Stranger opposing I-732 is that they are vociferous in their opposition to the sales tax... Except when it comes to fighting global warming.
Charles: has BC reduced its carbon emissions? Yes or no?
It's pretty clear from the things Cliff Mass said last summer on Blabbermouth that he isn't sweating anything.…

Cliff Mass doesn't believe in climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification--any of it. My only question is, who pays him to troll actual climate science?
Wake up, Mudede.

If you don't hit companies' bottom line, they're not going to do shit.
We need to raise the gas tax even more and eliminate tax give-aways to factory farm corporations. I liked Governor Inslee's carbon proposal, but I'm probably voting no on the initiative.
Once again the Stranger takes a giant shit on the scientific community. I know scientists say things that are complicated and nuanced but maybe try listening to them for once rather than making shit up. It's disingenuous and anti-intellectual.
CarbonWA isn't revenue-neutral:…

Yoram Bauman poisoned the well on the effort when he decided to go it alone on his "revenue-neutral" effort, and ignored those who pointed out that his effort wasn't going to work. It's too bad that there might be two efforts to rein in carbon on the ballot, and that makes it more likely that both will fail, but Bauman's arrogance is going to be to blame, not those who went the coalition route.

Also, see what FUSE has to say about Bauman's initiative:…