Pennsylvania is facing a growing crisis over a too-generous and now essentially bankrupt pension system for state public employees. The Harrisburg Patriot-News’ editorial page writer has a “brilliant” solution: Enact a big fat severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas (killing it in the process) and transfer the money from one group of people to another group who didn’t earn it, didn’t work for it, and have nothing to do with it. Typical liberal solution to all problems.
All the usual arguments come out: “All the other states are doing it.” “Give everyone a property tax break (i.e. buy them all off to go along with it).” “At current prices we’re selling ourselves too cheaply.” And, “It’ll be just a teeny, tiny little tax—the big, bad energy companies won’t even notice it.” Don’t believe a word of it.