Thursday, November 10, 2005

Windbag Profits Hearing

No, that’s not a typo; all those folks from the oil companies being questioned by the Senate to figure out why gasoline prices are so high is a pure political grandstand play to their constituents. These Windbags want to put a windfall profits tax on the oil companies because; well, they really aren’t sure why, they just want the public to view this as the right thing to do. “We don’t like it and we’re not taking it anymore!” or some other strongly worded message that can be spoken into a microphone while the television cameras are sending this home to the voters.

The best part of the hearing, at least in my book, was listening to Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, explain to Senator Barbara Boxer, D. California, that it was his decision not to swear these oil company executives in prior to their bearing testimony. Senator Boxer continued in a mini-tirade, insisting that all witnesses needed to be sworn in; all the while Senator Stevens explained the rules of the hearing and the authority that he alone held as he effectively silenced her self promoting soliloquy. Senator Boxer motioned to have all witnesses sworn in while in the background I heard someone second the motion. Senator Stevens simply ignored the motion and told them that he was moving on with the hearings.

“Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., never a friend to the oil industry, told the executives that in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, "people are concerned about fairness and justice at a time of sacrifice.”
This was after her attempt to run the meeting her own way regardless of the fact that Ted Stevens was in charge. While it is true that the “people are concerned about fairness and justice”, please note that there is a huge difference between being fair and being vindictive. There is a difference between earned profits and this thing they call windfall profit’s tax.

While I am not sure about how much it costs the oil companies to produce a gallon of gasoline; the investment in drilling for oil, finding sufficient quantities to justify pumping it out of the ground, building a refinery, transporting the crude oil to a refinery where it can be turned into various products suitable for the end consumer and all the attending costs of doing business, one thing I am certain of, at no time has any form of government invested anything in order to obtain the imposed taxes on those products. What is it now, a little over 40 cents on each gallon of gasoline is a tax? That means, if the information is at all relevant, that for all the investments and risks the oil companies have that they earn about 8 cents per gallon, something we call profit, while the government gets 40 cents per gallon just because they can get away with it; did I miss anything?

“Called at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., Wednesday's hearing could help Republicans deflect criticism they aren't doing enough to shield consumers from rising energy costs”

Senator Frist has absolutely no brains or back bone, at least the evidence is sorely lacking as he bends over backwards and panders to the “let’s tax those big oil monsters”. Taxing any business has never saved anyone a penny because those taxes are always passed along as part of the cost of doing business. So, all you Windbags, how much more will that gallon of gasoline cost after you tax the crap out of Big Oil? Maybe Frist needs to take a lesson from Ted Stevens on how to calmly and forcefully explain facts to one who has no intention of listening to reality, such as Barbara Boxer.

Not to let “Big Oil” off the hook entirely, I have to wonder why the price of gasoline has been manipulated so easily over the past several years. How come the supplies from the Middle East, Canada, South America or where ever else the raw commodity we call oil are so easily blocked from entering the market. Does greed have anything to do with it, or is it all done with smoke and mirrors in order to fool us into believing that the valve on one end is stuck closed?

No comments: