Sunday, April 27, 2008

Obama Flexes His Economic Muscles

In the face of rising gas prices Obama has gone into knee-jerk liberal mode and is calling for a "windfall profits" tax on the oil companies. Obama would dramatically increase the taxes on oil companies when the price of oil exceeds $80 a barrel (oil prices will probably be above $80 a barrel for the foreseeable future). Jimmy Carter tried this and it failed miserably.

Oil is a commodity that is produced around the world (where liberals haven't prevented drilling and the building of refineries) and is sold at market rates. That market rate is determined by the supply of oil and the demand for that oil. World-wide demand for oil (especially from developing countries) has dramatically increased over the last decade and the dollar has declined in value, driving the price sky high. Increasing taxes on the oil companies will reduce their incentive to bring more oil to market, driving prices even higher. Oil companies make a lot of money when the price of oil goes up because their stock pile becomes more valuable. However, they do not set the prices. ExxonMobil, although it is a huge company, is only the 14th largest oil company in the world. They can't set the price for oil any more than a big dairy farmer (that's for you, Polinders) can set the price for milk. OPEC, on the other hand, is a cartel that can and does influence the price of oil by agreeing on how much oil to produce.

Oil company profits cost you about 9 cents a gallon. Taxes (federal, state, local) cost you around 40-50 cents a gallon (who is gouging who?). Obama thinks this isn't nearly enough. He disguises a big tax hike by pretending he's just getting even with the evil oil companies. Who do you think will pay for the tax increase? The oil companies will pass it on the consumer by charging more for gas. McCain is calling for a reduction in the federal gas tax for the summer (it would be nice if he also favored drilling in ANWR). This would actually lower the price you pay at the pump, but Obama opposes it because, well, because it's a tax decrease instead of an increase.

Ah, the classic liberal vs. conservative debate: more government or less?

1 comment:

Jeff Polinder said...

thanks for the milk reference jon!