While US environmental laws are far from perfect, they are significantly better than that of many of our trading partners. It is a far too common practice for a polluter in the US to move their operations overseas rather than fix the pollution problem themselves. Our laws have a “Not In My Backyard” mentality about them. Regardless of your political views on Environmental Regulations, this is a problem. You will likely either see this as a needless destruction of our one planet or as placing us at a competitive disadvantage. The solution is simple, have everyone who sells products or services into the US economy to follow the same rules.
I propose a revenue neutral tax on the lifecycle or “cradle to grave” pollution of all products and services sold in the US. This would replace the current system based on fines with the tax levels set to replicate the same level of compliance as the fines produce. The goal isn’t to move the level of pollution, but rather to make the practice of offshoring pollution to be unprofitable. This would be a tax assessed at the time of purchase and all revenues of this tax would be returned equally to all American Citizens. All this does is make products coming from countries with more lax pollution restrictions, less competitive. This puts pressure on the business leaders in a country to pressure their politicians to fix this.