Dividend Diversion Concern

What's to stop Congress and/or the President of the United States from diverting dividends meant for Americans, into the hands of Fossil Fuel industries/lobbyists, MOC's, and/or the President, himself?  How can this be averted?

3 Replies
Rob Johnson
87 Posts

@Dan Barenholtz

the bill has the funds going to where it is going, (to the people). Gas tax goes to roads,  payroll tax goes to SS,  no need to avert anything,   Income tax is not dedicated,  so is discretionary. 

T Todd Elvins
2721 Posts

Hi @Dan Barenholtz

Check out our “Handling challenging questions about the Energy Innovation Act”. Scroll down to “Cost of living impacts” and click on “Skeptical that the government will return the money”.  Here's an excerpt

The Energy Innovation Act establishes a trust fund and directs all carbon fee revenue to that fund. Each month, payments are made from that fund to American households. As such, the fund will not grow in size and will not be a pot of money which politicians might want to dip into (this is different from the Social Security “trust fund” which amasses money over decades).

In fact, the bill contains a provision for an “advance payment” of the first month’s dividend to all recipients in the month prior to the collection of the carbon fee. This additional payment will be deducted from the fund over the following 36 months so that the program remains revenue neutral. In essence, the fund would “borrow” from future carbon fee receipts to finance the first month’s dividends.

There is no 100%  guarantee to prevent any bill from being amended five to 10 years into the future by anything a future Congress may pass. However, those who fear the government raiding any of the designated dividend funds should find the 100% net revenue back to households comforting when compared with other uses for the funds as it links the transparency of the fee with a direct benefit to all households. Any future political leader who proposed diverting the funds which are showing up in American's pocketbooks would face a backlash of voters who are losing out on the part of the policy which is helping all of us to make the energy transition.

What you might say

It’s true that many do not have a high level of trust in our government. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act starts paying a dividend even before the carbon fee is in effect. This is to make sure that households can handle any price increases and to demonstrate a commitment to return carbon fee revenue to American families.

Any future political leader who proposed diverting funds from the dividend would face the wrath of voters who are feeling the effects personally.

Optional for a conservative audience:

This is why we need conservatives at the table when this bill moves through Congress: to assure that the fee is redistributed back to the people.


@T Todd Elvins, you got it. Imagine if you will that Americans received monthly dividends for a time, and then media reported that Congress “amended” the act to fund something-or-other and those checks got cut in half. Out come the pitchforks and torches. 

It's a major reason why the dividend payments should be monthly, not quarterly as some politicians suggest, and that they should not be allocated to some kind of tax credit or tax swap that few people will be aware of. 

Some conservatives may disparage the dividends as “more entitlements," but that's inaccurate because the money is being distributed to both offset increased energy costs and to compensate everyone for the economic burdens caused by the emissions and their effect on the climate.

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