Judge Posner would like to see heavier carbon taxes and that Americans in general are under-taxed.
Question: What is your counsel?
Richard Posner: Well I don’t have the knowledge to give a responsible answer. But I would like to actually to see very heavy carbon taxes. And I’d also like to see larger government expenditures devoted to a range of defensive measures against catastrophe. But I think actually it’s kind of hearsay, but I think the American people are under taxed. You know we have very low tax rates relative to most countries, and I think too low. I think only government can deal with these catastrophic risks – not that the government has to do any of the research or anything; but the resources required, I think, for effective protection against them require a large-scale government spending.
I think we’ve skimped on government expenditures too. It’s partly a diversion. It’s the diversion of Iraq which has been so extraordinarily expensive. But if we were ever able to extricate ourselves from Iraq, which costs about $100 billion a year, I’d certainly want that $100 billion to be devoted to other national protection and not given back to the taxpayer.
Recorded on: Nov 21, 2007.