House OKs New Taxes on Big Oil Companies

The House has approved $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies.

The money collected over 10 years is intended to provide tax breaks for wind, solar and other alternative energy sources and for energy conservation.

The measure passed by the House by a 236-182 vote Wednesday as lawmakers cited record oil prices and rising gasoline costs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Law & Legal Issues

56 comments on “House OKs New Taxes on Big Oil Companies

  1. Wilfred says:

    Higher taxes on oil companies means fewer oil wells drilled, and thus fewer new discoveries. This will exacerbate the oil shortage. It’s so simple a child, or even a politician, should understand it.

    Giving tax breaks for alternative energy makes some sense, but remember, [i] you can’t count on any of them working. [/i] Governments are notoriously bad at funding things like this, as the technically-best projects are shoved aside in favor of projects with the strongest political backing.

    Oh well, I guess it’s time to buy futures contracts in Brazilian babassu nuts.

  2. bob carlton says:

    Finally, an outbreak of economic justice. As a Texan, it has been obscene to watch my friend in the oil bidness feast like pigs, without any accountability.

  3. KevinBabb says:

    Taxing oil companies on their “surplus profits” reminds me of the old story I was told as a child about some or another farm animal who could find no one to

    –plow the field
    –plant the seed
    –weed the field
    –water the crop
    –harvest the crop
    –thresh the wheat
    –grind the meal
    –gather the wood
    –stoke the oven; and
    –bake the bread,

    but plenty of people to eat the bread.

    After all the risks are taken, in swoops government to take its share. What a great deal.

  4. bob carlton says:

    KevinBabb – interesting story to tell a child.

    The reality is that American oil and gas industries receive anywhere between $15 billion and $35 billion a year in subsidies from taxpayers. For instance, the U.S. governments has generally propped the industry up with:

    * Construction bonds at low interest rates or tax-free
    * Research-and-development programs at low or no cost
    * Assuming the legal risks of exploration and development in a company’s stead
    * Below-cost loans with lenient repayment conditions
    * Income tax breaks, especially featuring obscure provisions in tax laws designed to receive little congressional oversight when they expire
    * Sales tax breaks – taxes on petroleum products are lower than average sales tax rates for other goods
    * The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve
    * Construction and protection of the nation’s highway system
    * Allowing the industry to pollute – what would oil cost if the industry had to pay to protect its shipments, and clean up its spills? If the environmental impact of burning petroleum were considered a cost? Or if it were held responsible for the particulate matter in people’s lungs, in liability similar to that being asserted in the tobacco industry?
    * Relaxing the amount of royalties to be paid

    Don’t trust me telling you this “story” Donald Lubick, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s former Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, testified to Congress that the petroleum industry “probably has larger tax incentives relative to its size than any other industry in the country”.

  5. Ouroboros says:

    No. 4, Mr. Carlton, as a conservative, let me say, point taken.

    But then, wouldn’t the smart and efficient thing for Congress to do be a repeal of those favorable subsidies? In other words, to declare that oil is now a mature, self-sufficient industry with no need for government prop-ups? Why *continue* the subsidies, while *increasing* special taxes just on that industry?

  6. Fisherman says:

    I trust everyone knows where the “largest oil companies” will get the revenue to pay these new taxes. Passthru.

  7. Wilfred says:

    Bob, your reasoning is really hard to follow. I don’t believe your assertions, but for the sake of argument, let’s momentarily say you’re right. So if the oil business is heavily dependent upon government subsidies, then removing these subsidies [i] is going to increase the cost of energy for the consumer. [/i] Is this what you want?

    I think you’re just consumed with envy because you know some oil industry workers who are prospering right now. (“like pigs” you say. Such Christian charity!) What were you doing for them when this wasn’t the case, when prices were low & they were getting laid off?

    These people work in some of the most disagreeable parts of the world, separated from their families for long stretches, facing extreme heat, cold, typhoons, risking death by malaria, blow-outs, hydrogen sulfide, helicopter crashes, and terrorism, all so you can buy gasoline at a lower cost than what you pay for that Perrier-water you sip at your Save-the-Whales meetings. I don’t like paying more either, but you need to develop some perspective.

  8. bob carlton says:

    Wilfred – thanks for the lecture on the oil industry.

    Let me help you with my perspective, which you see so concerned about. My family has been in the oil business for the past 4 generations. Proceeds from this funded, in great part, two of the largest Episcopal churches in Houston.

    The cost of energy under this current administration, run by two former oil men, has been a moral outrage and a national shame. Watching Bush & Cheney beg the Saudis to manipulate the supply rather than face the hard cold reality of pricing vs. supply/demand has made my Texas roots ache.

    I am a Texas native, Wilfred, so I wonder if you can tell me more about this Perrier-water you sip at these Save-the-Whales meetings you describe.

  9. libraryjim says:

    simple economics:
    Higher taxes = higher prices at the pump.

    Congress = idiots!

  10. RalphM says:

    So, what is the average return on investment for the oil industry? Anyone, anyone?

  11. John Wilkins says:

    Actually, higher taxes does not necessarily mean higher prices. Higher prices are caused by supply and demand. But plainly, the oil companies are busy raising prices anyway, regardless of taxes.

    wilfred – why wouldn’t you believe his assertions? Don’t you believe that our government is corrupt? I thought conservatives considered government corrupt?

    Higher taxes will probably mean – ironically – more searching for oil. Instead of going into someone’s pocket, the money is more likely to get reinvested. Higher taxes usually means higher investment.

  12. TimW says:

    Corporations do not pay taxes. Consumers pay the taxes in the form of higher prices.

  13. sophy0075 says:

    The oil companies will not only charge us more at the pump (a regressive tax increase if there ever was one!), they’ll have their accountants figure out ways to move their corporate operations offshore to tax havens, so ultimately there will be less in taxes for our bloated government to collect. So then our government will have to raise taxes on us.

    But we know at least one political party that has indicated it will do that.

  14. James Manley says:

    There goes a big chunk of your 401k and/or pension fund.

    Happy retirement.

  15. Andrew717 says:

    Bob, the accident of the location of your birth doesn’t make your envy good policy. I was born in Florida, so maybe next time I see a citrus farmer with a new car I’d be justified in wanting taxes on OJ? Same logic. “I’m a native Texan, so that means my knee jerk reaction to seeing people with more money then me is right!”

    And you know what, maybe it is all Bush’s fault. Damn him for making Deng Xioping open up the Chinese economy, thus leading to higher demand for oil three decades later. That bastard and his time machine!

  16. Andrew717 says:

    John, as costs go up due to taxation, this will effect the supply curve. As gasoline is fairly inelastic that means higher prices. No, it isn’t a direct tax on consumers, but it gets to their pockets all the same.

  17. Don R says:

    [blockquote]Higher taxes usually means higher investment.[/blockquote]
    Well, maybe higher investment in the services of accountants, attorneys, and lobbyists, but that has no benefit to the consumer.

  18. Wilfred says:

    #11 John Wilkins – Here’s one of Mr carlton’s assertions I doubt:
    “taxes on petroleum products are lower than average sales tax rates for other goods”

    As of January 2008, the average nationwide tax on gasoline was [url=]47 cents per gallon[/url]

    If you are paying $3.30 per gallon, that means $2.83 is for the gasoline and the rest is tax. This is equivalent to a 16.6% sales tax. I hope you’re not having to pay this much on your other purchases. When you fill up your car, the government makes more profit off the sale than the oil company does.

    Higher taxes on oil will not mean more searching for oil; rather, it will cause investors to put their money in other, less-taxed, industries.

    I think it would be more accurate to say conservatives are suspicious of government, because it is run by corruptible human beings, vulnerable to greed, [b] envy [/b] , and other failings. And even when politicians have good motives, they can pass foolish laws because they don’t know everything.

  19. Dan Crawford says:

    Rising prices have always meant rising profits for the oil companies. And their manipulation of refinery capacity has become an art form. And economists and political ideologues are so out of touch with the reality of real (middle-class and poor) folks trying to make do that their pronouncements are nothing more than a form of intellectual self-pleasuring.

  20. Little Cabbage says:

    Bob Carlton, thanks for knocking it out of the park! Hurrah for the House on this one!

  21. Chris Hathaway says:

    Some people don’t know or care anything about how economics work. They don’t care about they real consequences of envy based so-called economic justice. They think they have the wisdom of God but they only show the envy of the wicked. Their righteousness is selfrighteousness and their “justice” is greed masked in piety.

  22. Vintner says:

    Makes me glad our family all have hybrid cars.

    Makes me pray that every family did!

  23. Irenaeus says:

    “Higher taxes on oil companies means fewer oil wells drilled, and thus fewer new discoveries”

    Only if the increased taxes are enough to cause the expected return from the additional drilling to fall below the target rate of return a company uses for investment decisions.

    In estimated the expected return from additional drilling, an oil company must take account of factors ranging from the probability of finding oil to the costs of drilling and extraction to the market value of the oil extracted.

    This relatively modest change in tax law—reversing a tax break concocted as recently as 2005—is likely to loom large only in the minds of lobbyists, their congressional concubines, and assorted ideologues.

  24. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    ‘Excessive’ oil company profits per gallon of gasoline — about 10 cents.

    ‘Insufficient’ federal tax on the same gallon — 18 cents

    Additional state taxes — 8 cents (Alaska) to 36 cents (Hawai’i), most about 25 cents.

    Where is most of the investment and [i]all [/i] ofthe risk?

  25. BillS says:

    What do you left wing socialists on here think the oil companies do with the money? First, Government at all levels are 50% partners with the oil companies, in that federal state and local taxes take half of the profits through taxes.

    The remaining amount is either paid out in dividends to the shareholders, who own the company, or reinvested in the business. Much of the dividends paid out and the increase in share price as a result of higher profits go to middle America in their pension plans and 401k plans, lessening the burden of retirement on government programs.

    Most importantly, the bulk of the retained profits is reinvested in the business to go look for more oil, increasing the supply, and reducing the price below what it would otherwise be if that same money went to the government. Finding more oil is what we want them to do.

    What will the poobas in Government do with money taken through the coercive power to tax? Government will blow it to the four winds. The government will not find more oil.

    The answer to energy independence is to develop Anwar, oil shale, coal, nuclear power etc, all of which is an anathema to the left wing enviros. As long as put self imposed limits on our own domestic energy resources, we will continue to fund radical Islamic terrorists.

    We need more people getting rich in the oil and energy business, because this is what incentivizes people to provide more energy, at a lower cost.

  26. CharlesB says:

    Despite $3.00-plus per gallon prices, with the exception of the Middle East, the US still has lower gas prices that the rest of the world. Look at the silver lining: When prices get this high, we have enormous energy resources, because many less-efficient and more costly forms of oil production–as well as energy production–become cost effective.

  27. Philip Snyder says:

    This is simple economics. Taxes are an expense item to corporations – a cost of doing business. The amount of new expenses passed on to customers is a function of the elasticity of the product or service. The more inelastic (less responsive to price) a product or service is, the greater share of a new expense will be passed on to the consumers. Oil products are very inelastic. Our society could not function without oil and the products produced by oil such as the keyboards we are all using to argue. Therefore a large portion of this new tax will be passed on to the consumers in the form of higher prices.

    If we are providing subsidies to oil companies, then let’s stop those subsidies rather than raising taxes.

    It seems that there are many in our society for whom the deadly sin of “envy” has become the new “virtue” of fairness.

    Of course, we should not be taxing income anyway. We should be taxing consumption beyond basics.

    Phil Snyder

  28. Chris Hathaway says:

    So when do we, the private citizens, get to tax Big Government for its excessive profits from other people’s industries?

    Jefferson was right. You really need to clear the deck of these politicians, with bloodshed if necessary, every generation or so. They are like weeds that eventually choke off all other healthy growth.

  29. Dilbertnomore says:

    Headline is not correct. Should read, “House OKs New Taxes on Individual American Workers.”
    Corporations do not pay taxes. Yes there is a corporate tax rate, but the money to pay those taxes are extracted from customers in the form of higher prices for goods sold. The corporation is the tax collector, not the tax payer.
    A very important measure of corporate health is the measure EBITA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortization Expense). The I, T and A expenses are extracted because I and A are individual to each corporation and T (taxes) are just a shell game that varies from state to state the expense of which is just passed on to the customer. What is left as a more true measure of a corporation’s financial performance relative to its peers.
    If you still harbor the belief that you benefit when Congress lays a big tax on corporations, you are being played for a gullible sucker. The money to pay the tax is coming right out of your pocket every time you buy a taxed corporation’s product.
    Corporate taxes are a sneaky way legislators fool the gullible into believing they are protecting hard working families from the need to raise government revenue by going after ‘greedy’ corporations. It’s the standard pick-pocket scam – distract the mark while you grab his wallet.
    Wake up America!

  30. Wilfred says:

    #23 Irenaeus – You are right that wells which still meet the target rate of return will likely be drilled anyway. But even a small increase in taxes – one percent more to the government – will cause a number of marginal prospects not to be drilled, because they then won’t meet the threshold. These tend to be higher-risk prospects with the best chance of finding new reserves.

    Illustration: If they drill a well in the middle of a known oil field in Texas, chances are it will be a producer. But it will add little new reserves, because this is in a field they already knew about.

    If they drill a well offshore South Carolina, chances are it will be dry. But if it does find oil, the new discovery could potentially lead to the production of millions of barrels.

    We need higher-risk prospects like this to be drilled, to have any chance at all of finding enough oil to get out of thralldom to OPEC. But funding for them will be cut back, if the government gets too greedy.

  31. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    I think the real problem and solution belong beyond the issues of taxation and prices at the pump. Have a look:

  32. bob carlton says:

    Wow – it is hard to ferret out allegiances here. Which is more important – our national allegiance, our allegiance to a certain economic system or our allegiance to following God in a Jesus way ? As Christians, how do we reconcile where our ultimate faith lies, especially within an empire as mesmerizing as Rome or America?

    For me, I try to focus on what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:
    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Don’t let anyone make you think that God has chosen America as [God’s] divine messianic force to be reckoned with.” There are compelling voices who claim that God has chosen America (not the church) as a special embodiment of hope for the world, and then there are times (perhaps in more recent history) when it seems America embodies an antithesis of what God hopes for. U.S. flags colonize the altars and the money is branded “In God We Trust,” but the economy is an eerie reflection of the seven deadly sins listed in scripture, with a culture dangerously close to the sins of Sodom, a culture the prophet Ezekiel describes as “arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned.” Given the fact that America and God’s kingdom are not the same – and are often at odds – how do we resist the temptation of thinking that America, rather than God or God’s church, is the hope of the world?

  33. Philip Snyder says:

    Bob – so are you saying that high tax rates on corporations that are doing well at the moment is a Christian Virtue?

    All economic systems are tainted with evil, since they are conceived and administered by sinful men and women. There are competing goals in economic systems. One goal may be minimizing the differences between the wealthy and the poor. This, today, is called “fairness.” It is not fair that a CEO makes several million dollars while a person working at minimum wage makes under $20,000 in the same year. Another goal might be to increase the overall wealth of the population by allowing rewards to be greater when contributions to that wealth are greater.
    We, as Christians, have to determine which of the goals are more Christlike. Is it better to have abject poverty if the wealthy are less wealthy than to have more wealth, but the wealthy have even greater wealth? Let’s put this in personal terms. Would you rather have an income of $20,000/yr in today’s terms if that meant that Bill Gates earned only $140,000/yr or would you rather have an income of $40,000/yr while Bill Gates earns 14,000,000/yr?

    I suggest that the better system (and more Christ like system) would be the second where poverty is relative, but less sever. The goal, then, is to convert the Bill Gates of the world such that they do not depend on their wealth and give freely of it to alleviate the suffering of others.

    Phil Snyder

  34. Andrew717 says:

    Bob, I’m not sure how ridiculously bad, short sighted policies grounded in envy are Christian, either. Making things worse for most people out of spite for a few who have done well isn’t Christian. Christ said to help the poor, not hurt the rich. The two are different. At the end of the day, raising the costs for oil companies means raised prices at the pump, which disproportionately hurts the poor. I’m pretty sure that’s not Christian, either.

  35. bob carlton says:

    I just do not view policy in the same frame you do.

    The majority of the world’s resources pour into the United States. And as we Americans grow more and more wealthy, money is becoming a kind of narcotic for us. We hardly notice our own prosperity or the poverty of so many others. The great contradiction is that we have more and more money and less and less generosity — less and less public money for the needy, less charity for the neighbor.

    We who are now the richest nation are today’s main coveters. We never feel that we have enough; we have to have more and more, and this insatiable desire destroys us. Whether we are liberal or conservative Christians, we must confess that the central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God’s abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity — a belief that makes us greedy, mean and unneighborly. We spend our lives trying to sort out that ambiguity.

    The great question now facing the church is whether our faith allows us to live in a new way. If we choose the story of death, we will lose the land — to excessive chemical fertilizer, or by pumping out the water table for irrigation, perhaps. Or maybe we’ll only lose it at night, as going out after dark becomes more and more dangerous.

    Joshua 24 puts the choice before us. Joshua begins by reciting the story of God’s generosity, and he concludes by saying, “I don’t know about you, but I and my house will choose the Lord.” This is not a church-growth text. Joshua warns the people that this choice will bring them a bunch of trouble. If they want to be in on the story of abundance, they must put away their foreign gods — I would identify them as the gods of scarcity.

    Jesus said it more succinctly. You cannot serve God and mammon. You cannot serve God and do what you please with your money or your sex or your land. And then he says, “Don’t be anxious, because everything you need will be given to you.” But you must decide. Christians have a long history of trying to squeeze Jesus out of public life and reduce him to a private little Savior. But to do this is to ignore what the Bible really says. Jesus talks a great deal about the kingdom of God — and what he means by that is a public life reorganized toward neighborliness.

    For me, I stretch to hold the hand of Jesus, who worked in his own Empire experience – a Savior & Liberating King who I believe beckons us God’s people to dismantle, on a regular basis, the fundamental patterns and structures of stratified wealth and power, so that there is ‘enough for everyone.’

  36. bob carlton says:

    Andrew717 & Wilfred,

    Thanks for what I assume is actual concern. Envy relates to negative feelings toward a person because of something they own. That is my reaction to my own financial gains from the oil “boom” or those of my friends.

    It is ignominy – pure & simple. The machine our society is premised on is lubricated by oil. It is a disgrace that dishonors human kind and people who follow God.

  37. Andrew717 says:

    It may be a disgrace, but when you get down to it, the poor need gasoline to get to work. Making that more expensive through gratuitous envy-based taxation is a sin. We can work to change the centrality of gasoline, but that is years away, and people are hurting now.

  38. bob carlton says:

    Can you with a clean heart & straight face suggest that your feelings about gas prices are motivated by a concern for the poor ?

  39. Andrew717 says:

    Yes I can, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t impugn my motives for the “flaw” of understanding economic reality.

  40. Philip Snyder says:

    Bob – I agree with your diagnosis of the problems of wealth in the US. But the solution to that diagnosis does not come through the tax code or through the “virtue” of “fairness.” The solution is to convert the nation (and the world) to Jesus Christ and to re-convert the Church. God does not want us to be wealthy or happy or content. God wants us to acknowledge our dependence on Him and to seek Him for our daily bread. The question comes down to how do you provide for that in the Tax Code? I don’t believe you can. Taking away the rewards for innovation, hard work, and risk taking will minimize innovation, hard work, and risk taking and, thus, minimize the wealth of a people. I am concerned with economic justice, but economic justice is not my goal. My goal is union with God through Jesus Christ and the spread of God’s rule, reign, or Kingdom. In the long term, that is the only true path to economic justice. In the short or mid term, I am more concerned with the creation of wealth so that the poor are fed and clothed and housed and provided for and can learn to provide for themselves. Thus, I want fiscal and monetary policies that will increase the wealth in the world, not stifle it in the name of fairness.

    Phil Snyder

  41. bob carlton says:

    Help me with this:
    monetary policies that will increase the wealth in the world

    I can see how that tracks with a certain economic worldview or a preference for governmental mandate. I can see how that is firmly planted in the culture we live in today.

    But how does that track to:
    ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    I do not think I ever used the world fair – we are called to hunger & thirst for justice & righteousness. While justice is a theme that weaves its way through most Second Testament books, it is perhaps Matthew who gives it the greatest emphasis with Luke following closely. Righteousness is one of the primary themes in Matthew.

    Among the Beatitudes, which form the heart of Jesus’ powerful Sermon on the Mount, we find, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Mt 5:6). That positions this virtue squarely in the center of Jesus’ enduring message, so it might be wise to brush up on its definition.

    What exactly is meant by righteousness? In essence, it denotes actions that are morally right or justifiable in conjunction with divine law. A hunger and thirst for righteousness arises, then, from an outrage and indignation over injustice and immorality.

  42. Andrew717 says:

    What of the outrage and indignation arising from seeing the injustice and immorality of seeking to use governmental means to increase misery and pain, good intentions notwithstanding?

  43. Philip Snyder says:

    I want the suffering of the poor to be alleviated. This requires wealth and excess wealth by some people. My primary desire (as I stated above) is the have union with God through Jesus Christ and to spread His kingdom through word and action. But, until the eschaton when we will no longer earn our bread by the sweat of our brow, I want there to be enough wealth to care for the poor, the sick, the hungry, those in prison, the wayward and the lost. So, I want a just economic system combined with a Christian populace where those who cannot earn enough bread by the sweat of their brow can still have bread. I want those who can earn bread to not lay around and wait for others to provide bread. Money and wealth are not, by themselves, evil. The love of money or the love of wealth are evil. Likewise, the hatred of others having money or wealth is evil.

    Righteousness is not “actions that are morally right or justifiable in conjuction with divine law.” Righteousness is a right relationship with God. Hunger for righteousness is built into us: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” But we do all we can to satisfy that hunger with other food – money, power, self-righteousness, food, sex, etc. The only true path to economic justice is to stop trying to fill our hunger for God with sex, food, money, power, self-righteousness etc. and for the rest of humanity to do the same. Until that time, I want there to be a way to feed, house, clothe, and care for the poor in the world. Last time I checked, that required wealth – food, clothes, shelter, money, etc.

    Phil Snyder

  44. bob carlton says:

    Where in the Good News of Jesus is there any precedence for this:
    I want those who can earn bread to not lay around and wait for others to provide bread.

    In terms of righteousness, The Hebrew word for righteousness is tseh’-dek, tzedek, Gesenius’s Strong’s Concordance:6664—righteous, integrity, equity, justice, straightness. The root of tseh’-dek is tsaw-dak’, Gesenius’s Strong:6663—upright, just, straight, innocent, true, sincere. It is best understood as the product of upright, moral action in accordance with some form of divine plan.

    Righteousness, like the Kingdom of Heaven, is God’s gift through grace.

  45. Philip Snyder says:

    In the canon of Scripture: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a min will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thess 3:10)

    In terms of righteousness, the Greek [i][url=]dikaiosynÄ“[/url][/i] and it has both a relational context (man relating to God) and a works context – doing the works of justice, etc. As Paul points out in Romans, we are unable achieve “the product of upright, moral action in accordance with some form of divine plan” on our own. So, it is God’s plan to justify us through Jesus Christ. The word “Justify” has the same root as Righteous. It is, in fact, a passive verb form of righteous. So, it is God’s plan to declare/make us righteous and this is done by God’s grace through faith (=trust) in Jesus Christ.

    Having said that, I noticed that you did not speak to my other points about wealth being necessary to care for the poor and, therefore, I want monetary and fiscal policies that are designed to expand wealth, not suppress it.

    Phil Snyder

  46. Little Cabbage says:

    Bob Carlton, thanks for sharing your deep knowledge of the oil industry. My family, too, has long roots in it. It is one of the most heavily-subsidized sectors of our economy, because it long had folks willing and able to fork over BIG bucks to lobbyists and politicians of both parties. The oil markets are CONTROLLED, they are in no way the sanctified ‘free market’ of conservative myth. Thanks again, and keep up the great work! Remember that many more people are reading these posts than are taking the time to post their own comments. (Especially on this blog where the arch-conservatives gather to hammer anyone with differing ideas!)

  47. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Hey now Lil’ Cabbage,

    I’m about one step to the left of a John Bircher, but I didn’t hammer anyone for having different ideas. You need to use a finer paintbrush when you start painting your pictures. My post actually provided a link that, if you read it carefully, states that OPEC is causing the current oil cost crisis. Here is a quote to stir interest:

    “As The Economist hit the newsstands [around March of 1999], OPEC began to bring new discipline to world crude markets. The cartel pledged its third round of production cuts in just over a year, thereby reducing exports during that period by 4.3 million barrels per day. In addition, the organization negotiated coordinated cuts by other major oil exporters – Russia, Mexico, Norway and Oman. The cartel and its co-conspirators (except Russia) stuck to their guns, and a new bull market began.”

    I would love to see us develop more nuclear power plants…and yes, they can start in my back yard.

  48. Little Cabbage says:

    Sick & Tired, the ‘free market’ I referred to was the US oil production,markets & corporations (e.g., Exxon), which are the ones the tax (or, we should say, slight reduction in public subsidy) is aimed. The OPEC cartel is largely (but not totally, I know, I know) beyond US tax laws.

  49. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Well, I am pretty sure that we have basically the same tax structure for petroleum products that we did in 2000…back when gas only cost about $1 per gallon. I wouldn’t mind if we, as a nation, really made the move away from petroleum for heating and transportation. I think we could do it with electric [plug in hybrid cars], methane from wastewater, and bio-diesel for vehicles, while a combination of electric and geo-thermal could work for heating. Passive solar and concrete as a primary building material could also make a big difference for a minimal investment.

    Having said that, I don’t think taxing the big oil companies will have the affect you desire. I think the tax would just be passed on to the consumer. If it can be proven that there is collusion by domestic oil companies to gouge the consumer, I think it would be more beneficial to send the guilty parties to jail…for very long sentences.

  50. Andrew717 says:

    Cabbage, have you actually [i][b]read[/b][/i] the posts in this thread? Have you seen the repeated calls to cut the subsidies before imposing new taxes? You seem to be arguing with a straw man, rather than the points raised in the discussion.

  51. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “. . . your deep knowledge of the oil industry.”


    Deep knowledge of the philosophy of socialism , and a nice little tutorial on this thread.

  52. Wilfred says:

    [i] Off topic. Commenter is warned. [/i]

  53. Wilfred says:

    #51 Sarah – Don’t be too hard on them. In this thread on the oil industry, #8 bob & #46 Little Cabbage [i] have [/i] shared that they have a deep knowledge of how to cash dividend checks.

  54. libraryjim says:

    President Bush has said he will veto it (I think) in his press confrence if it comes to his desk. So that’s good news.

  55. LeightonC says:

    This discussion reminds me of the time when Congress in its indefinte stupidity levied heavy luxury taxes on the yacht industry in an effort to stick it financially to those “evil” people and corporation who could afford this luxury. What Congress really did was put a tremendous amount of individuals out of work, i.e. those who built the yacht and all the suppliers who supported the industry. Eventually the cry of those on the dole was finally heard by Congress and the tax was repealed. Please be reminded that the majority of idiots in Congress have never managed a business and wouldn’t know a P/L sheet if it slapped them in the face.

  56. Irenaeus says:

    Since when does a relatively modest change in tax law—repealing a special tax benefit enacted less than three years ago—constitute the wicked politics of envy?