That's a pretty damned good metaphor.
A carbon tax will further skew the production structure of American business. Every activity that emits carbon will be scrutinized for its necessity and will be eliminated or scaled back if possible.
The effects will be similar to what we've already witnessed with the new EPA regs on coal-burning powerplants. Many are just being shut down with no replacements planned.
A carbon tax will do the same -- just spread over the entire business spectrum thus making it harder to spot the damage. Small businesses and marginally-profitable enterprises will just shut down. Larger ones will shift production into areas with less carbon "exposure". People will lose jobs, markets will lose customers, and the economy will be further thinned out.
Some advocates for the tax will insist that business will just pass along the costs to consumers but that's not true. If they could raise prices without losing sales, they already would have.
A carbon tax is very dangerous. If Obama proposes it as the requirement to approve the pipeline, we must all say, no.
We can work around the lack of a pipeline; but we can't live with a carbon tax in any manner we've become accustomed to. It's line-in-the-sand time.