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Letter: Shaming oil companies

The Chicago Tribune’s Nov. 14 editorial about fossil fuel companies reaping profits at the expense of the consumer and environment is like rooting for the flames when your house is on fire. The harm to the environment is so obvious it’s laughable. And the Tribune suggests common consumers share in the oil windfall by buying $110 in oil stock. The majority of consumers don’t have 110 bucks to invest in stock, largely because of inflated gas prices.

The editorial hints at the weary Milton Friedman adage that ”There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” Corporations have no responsibility for the welfare of those it exploits — no responsibility for soul-crushing economic inequality or life-altering pollution and weather events.

To redress corporate lack of social responsibility, employ a simple tax and dividend process. Tax fossil fuel companies for taking oil, coal and natural gas from the ground at the amount those resources negatively impact society — $85 for a one-ton equivalent of carbon dioxide that resource emits. The tax would be distributed to all families with less than $250,000 in income. The distribution would offset the inevitable rise in fossil fuel prices and limit the inequality and pollution that is the scourge of the Earth.

Jim Arneberg

Hoffman Estates

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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