Sky Trust Citizens Dividends
|January 16, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
You Deserve Dividends
The Sky Trust — What It Is and Why We Urge It
The Sky Trust. It’s the most exciting Citizens Dividend project in the USA, and perhaps the most exciting economic justice project in the world right now! Here is an explanation of the Sky Trust, circulated by the trust’s supporters.
WHAT IS THE SKY TRUST?
A dividend-paying Sky Trust is the simplest, most efficient and most equitable way to reduce harmful carbon emissions in the U.S.
The Sky Trust is modeled after the Alaska Permanent Fund. It would sell a gradually declining number of carbon emission permits and divide its income equally among all Americans.
The benefits of a Sky Trust would be:
- cleaner air
- healthier citizens
- yearly dividends paid to every American, including children.
Though its creation requires an act of Congress, the Sky Trust would not be a government agency. It would be the citizens’ trustee of a shared inheritance. Its operation would be off the books of the federal government and wouldn’t affect taxes or public expenditures in any way (except to the extent that taxes on dividend income add to federal revenue).
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE SKY TRUST
- The sky belongs to all of us equally.
- The sky does not belong to corporations or the government.
- Pollution must be limited to what the sky can safely absorb.
- Once limits are set, companies should pay for pollution permits.
- The money they pay should go into a trust.
- The trust should pay equal dividends to all citizens.
THE SKY TRUST HAS BROAD POLITICAL APPEAL
The Sky Trust combines the best of conservative and liberal principles:
- No taxes
- Yearly dividends
- No government ownership or regulation
- Private property rights expanded
- No corporate welfare
- No means testing
- Market pricing
- Polluters pay
- Conservers are rewarded
- Pro-family and pro-child
- One person, one share
- Transition fund for affected workers
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How will the Sky Trust affect me?
In the future, consumers will pay more for gas, electricity and other products that generate lots of carbon emissions. Thats inevitable given that we must limit emissions and charge for them. Depending on what Congress does, the extra money we pay for carbon emissions will go to private corporations, the U.S. Treasury, or back to citizens through a dividend-paying Sky Trust. All Americans will be better off with a Sky Trust than with any other system.
Isnt the Sky Trust really a tax on fossil fuels?
No. With a Sky Trust, no money goes to the government. Users of fossil fuels will pay a cost for carbon disposala cost that wasnt charged before. But this cost is due to the physical scarcity of sky, and will be set by markets, not politicians. Most importantly, it will be fully returned to citizens in the form of yearly dividends.
Why use a trust instead of the government to handle the money?
To insure that all money paid for carbon emissions goes back to citizens. Without a trust, sky income could be mingled with taxes, or go to private corporations, and citizens might never see it again.
Won’t citizens support higher emissions in order to get higher dividends?
No. In fact, the reverse is true. Reducing emissions, not increasing them, will cause the Sky Trusts revenue (and hence dividends) to rise. Thats because of what economists call scarcity rent. The scarcer things like buildable land, Van Gogh paintings and pieces of the sky become, the higher their value rises.
Wont administrative costs eat up the Sky Trusts income?
Since the Trust has only two tasksselling permits and paying equal dividendsits administrative costs will be very low. Estimates are that the cost of managing the Sky Trust will be less than .4% of its income.
The Sky Trust Initiative is a project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, 777 N. Capitol St. NE, Washington DC 20002. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.skytrust.cfed.org.
What more would you like to know? What concerns do you have? Tell the Progress Report, and also post your ideas at the Economic Justice Discussion Room