A windfall-profits tax on Big Oil would not be punishing them. They would still make huge profits. Their executives and biggest shareholders are obscenely overcompensated. What it would do is reduce the budget deficit, and that would help every American. Those taxes could be used to help America bring forth clean (non-toxic) energy for all. However, the wicked, anti-environmentalist, bad-stewardship Senate Republicans blocked the legislation.
Of course, such taxes are not the solution, but those who backed them are closer to God than are those in the U.S. Senate who opposed them.
Senate GOP blocks windfall taxes on Big Oil
Jun 10, 9:19 PM (ET)
By H. JOSEF HEBERT
WASHINGTON (AP) -Saved by Senate Republicans, big oil companies dodged an attempt Tuesday to slap them with a windfall profits tax and take away billions of dollars in tax breaks in response to the record gasoline prices that have the nation fuming.
GOP senators shoved aside the Democratic proposal, arguing that punishing Big Oil won't do a thing to lower the $4-a-gallon-price of gasoline that is sending economic waves across the country. High prices at the pump are threatening everything from summer vacations to Meals on Wheels deliveries to the elderly.
The Democratic energy package would have imposed a 25 percent tax on any "unreasonable" profits of the five largest U.S. oil companies, which together made $36 billion during the first three months of the year. It also would have given the government more power to address oil market speculation, opened the way for antitrust actions against countries belonging to the OPEC oil cartel, and made energy price gouging a federal crime.
At the Capitol, Democratic leaders needed 60 votes and they got only 51 senators' support, including seven Republicans who bucked their party leaders. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a state tied closely to the oil industry, was the only Democrat opposing the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid voted in favor of the measure, but for procedural reasons changed his vote to "no" so that he could bring it up again.
The bill's supporters argued that their proposal was different from the windfall profits taxes of the early 1980s that thwarted domestic production and led to a rise in imports. The oil companies could avoid the tax by using their "windfall" to push alternative energy programs or refinery expansions, they said.
Shortly after the oil tax vote, Republicans blocked a second proposal that would extend tax breaks that have either expired or are scheduled to end this year for wind, solar and other alternative energy development, and for the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation. Again Democrats couldn't get the 60 votes to overcome a GOP filibuster.
Obama, in a statement, said Republicans had "turned a blind eye to the plight of America's working families" by refusing to take up the energy legislation. Obama has supported additional taxes on the oil companies. McCain is opposed to such taxes and has proposed across-the-aboard tax reductions for industry as a way to help the economy.
In addition to the proposed windfall profits tax, the Democrats' bill also would have rescinded tax breaks that are expected to save the oil companies $17 billion over the next 10 years. The money would have been used to provide tax incentives for producers of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources as well as for energy conservation.
In an attempt to dampen oil market speculation, the legislation would require traders to put up more collateral in the energy futures markets and would provide authority to regulate U.S.-based trading in foreign markets. And it would make oil and gas price gouging a federal crime, with stiff penalties of up to $5 million during a presidentially declared energy emergency.