It’s true, gas prices are as high as a mouse in Willie Nelson’s laundry hamper. That’s no secret. Yes, retiring Exxon Chairman Lee Raymond got a $400 million retirement package. We all know that. Everybody’s in an uproar. President Bush has ordered a probe into possible gas price cheating on the part of oil companies and others in the chain of distribution.
The funny part? The biggest gas price raisers of all will conduct the probe: The government.
Members of Congress, such as Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, who makes “watching paint dry” seem like it should be a sport in the X-Games but nevertheless manages to exude split-atom energy when it comes to cheerleading for bad ideas, are calling for a windfall profits tax on the oil companies.
Of course, the tax would be passed on to consumers, but Congress will deal with that later — it’ll be good fodder for calling for the federalization of the oil industry. In a Beltway culture that confuses motion with action, windfall profits taxes are but flailing victims in the quicksand of lunacy.
Besides, who’s really making the money and profiting on gasoline? Here in Michigan, the government, and I’m talking about just the state of Michigan, takes about 30 cents per gallon. (Here’s a PDF of how much your state takes). The local, state, and federal national average for total gas taxes is 45.9 cents per gallon. On the other side of the viscosity coin, evil oil companies make in the neighborhood of 9 cents per gallon.
But wait, the government’s take is chock to the brim with nobility, since those taxes pay for roads, repairs, infrastructure studies, gold keys to the Pearly Gates and a generally mellifluous existence for humanity as a whole, right? That was the defense provided by Mississippi Senator and Strom Thurmond roaster-gone-horribly-awry, Trent Lott, in a recent interview.
Defenses of excessive ancillary taxation can’t help but make you wonder what all your “regular” taxes go toward.
If you’re a fan of irony, check this out: there is a petition on the State of Michigan website that you can sign to demand action against high gas prices and obscene oil company profits. Not so oddly enough, I don’t see where they mentioned that the Michigan state worker pension system currently holds $832 million worth of Exxon-Mobil stock.
After that, go to JohnDillinger.com and sign the petition to convince Bonnie and Clyde to stop robbing banks.
In witnessing certain members of government complaining about the high price of gasoline, I can’t help but feel like I’m listening to the Menendez brothers whining about being orphans.
Drill for more oil in the U.S.? Nah. Even though Alaska’s Senators have raked in more “road to” pork than Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, none of those roads will lead to an oil field in ANWR any time soon.
Build more refineries here in the States? Sure, and maybe Courtney Love will open a finishing school.
Weren’t we all just debating this? In November of 2005, the U.S. Senate hosted many oil industry execs, and vociferously grilled them over “obscene profits.”
Rest easy, America — pillars of integrity, many of whom somehow managed to become millionaires from a lifetime of “public service,” are handling these crooked oil companies.
A political body, headed up in part by the Massachusetts duet of Kennedy and Kerry — respectively, a former admiral in the Olds Navy whose family made their fortune running rum during prohibition, and a gigolo, are sitting in judgment of what constitutes “profiteering.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?