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Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Senate GOP blocks windfall taxes on Big Oil

A woman walks past the price board Tuesday at a Shell gas station in San Mateo, Calif. The U.S. Senate failed to take up an energy package Tuesday that would have taxed billions of dollars on profits from the country's biggest oil companies.

A woman walks past the price board Tuesday at a Shell gas station in San Mateo, Calif. The U.S. Senate failed to take up an energy package Tuesday that would have taxed billions of dollars on profits from the country's biggest oil companies.

June 11, 2008

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— The outcome of the vote was hardly a surprise. Democrats knew they probably couldn't overcome a Republican filibuster on a plan to tax billions of dollars in "windfall" profits by the country's biggest oil companies.

Still plenty of anger was on display. After all, the bill was meant to respond to what has the nation fuming - gasoline costing $4 a gallon and going up.

Republican leaders were refusing to even debate a proposal to address "the biggest problem confronting the American people," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

"That takes nerve," she said.

Democratic leaders fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to take up the energy package. Its centerpiece was a 25 percent tax on Big Oil's windfall profits and the stripping away of tax breaks the oil companies have enjoyed. The tax could be avoided if the money were put into alternative fuel projects.

"The American people must be wondering what in God's name is going on in their nation's capital," proclaimed Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont. Expensive gasoline is sending economic waves across the country, threatening everything from summer vacations to Meals on Wheels deliveries to the elderly.

The GOP senators argued that punishing big oil companies won't do a thing to lower prices at the pump. They also said it could curtail domestic oil production and maybe even cause prices to go up, not down.

On world markets, oil prices retreated a bit Tuesday but remained above $131 a barrel. Gasoline prices edged even higher to a nationwide record average of $4.04 a gallon.

Comments

Frank Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

The Republicans just as well ought to change their name to the Petroleum Party. When Bush invaded Iraq, gas was selling for $1.25/gallon.

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Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

While the USA oil cartel is a major contributor so are consumers.When figuring the war and military security for pipelines it is estimated americans are actually $14-$21 per gallon of gasoline....more than any other portion of the world.The largest contributor to increased gasoline prices is all americans who continue to buy no matter the cost.All americans who honestly believe the USA government can dictate the cost of doing business with oil suppliers Americans who refuse to walk,bike or use public transportation when in fact that is smart dollars and sense.Americans who refuse to drive fuel efficient automobilesAmericans who believe oil products do not pollute in order to justify their desire to drive gas hogs. This is called denial.Americans who say I can afford gasoline no matter what. That my friends drives inflated pricing which screws everyone and makes zero dollars and sense .All who refuse to make that very very tough decision of relocating closer to employment. The current housing market may be a best opportunity. Wars for oil contol are not free!All americans who believe it's okay for soldiers to die or become permanently disabled so long as it is not them or their children all for oil.Yes folks it is us screwing up our own cost of living instead demanding an end to all of the madness stated above. Instead we believe politicians!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Why not just cut all subsidies to big oil (and big coal, while they're at it?)

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SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 3 months ago

Remember, children: Tax cuts improve economies. Tax hikes hurt economies.

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Corey Williams 6 years, 3 months ago

"Tax cuts improve economies. Tax hikes hurt economies."The trickle down theory is idiotic. If you cut taxes on the rich, they just invest or save their extra money. The only way cutting taxes works is if you cut taxes on the poor. They go out and spend their money.Bush started his first term in a recession and he'll end his second in a recession. And if you blame the first one on Clinton, then this one will have to be Bush's responsibility.Is everyone better off than they were 8 years ago?

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Sigmund 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually there were good provisions in this bill. Windfall profits tax wasn't one of them, it didn't work for Carter as it didn't produce any additional oil or gas and led to higher prices. When it was removed oil and gas went down in price quickly and substantially.So what was the good provision in this bill. It would have raised the margin rates on futures traders. Raising margin rates reduces speculation which most economist believe accounts for half of the current price $140/barrel price of light sweet crude (which is the easiest and cheapest to refine into gas).

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Frank Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

National average price of gasoline on 3/19/03, the day Bush invaded Iraq: $1.27.Washington - AP 6/11/08Saved 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.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 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.

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notajayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

mancityfooty (Corey Williams) says: "If you cut taxes on the rich, they just invest or save their extra money. The only way cutting taxes works is if you cut taxes on the poor. They go out and spend their money."Nice theory. Except the poor don't pay any income taxes, they have a negative effective tax rate already.

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dirkleisure 6 years, 3 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says:Remember, children: Tax cuts improve economies. Tax hikes hurt economies.----------Indeed. For example, look at the W. Bush tax cuts and how the economy has had nothing but sustained growth during his term and completely avoided boom/bust cycles, spiraling unemployment, etc.Then, look at the HW Bush tax hikes and the subsequent Clinton tax hikes and how the economy was in the toilet for the entire period from 1994 - 2000. Prices spiraling out of control, not only a lack of job creation but an actual loss of jobs, etc.Look at the tax cuts of the 1920's and the tremendous shape they left the economy in. Then look at what FDR did in 1933 and 1934 - raised taxes on the wealthy (whose taxes had been slashed by Republicans during the 20's) and created a Depression!Yup, nothing like slashing taxes on the "wealth creators" to make the economy stronger.

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