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Wow, Bandolero, did you crib that straight from Hannity or Rush? We're talking about annual PROFITS running in excess of $140 Billion - this is not ma & pa deciding to expand the corner grocery store, and hoping to save a little for their kids college fund. They are not spending every penny "back on the business", nor are they spending more than a pittance piggybacking on others' hard work in the alternative energy field (despite what their own commercials would have you believe) And they didn't "work through it" when oil was $10/barrel. They were given my money when they went crying to Congress in the form of $18 billion a year in tax breaks. But your heroes are saying if I want some of it back I'm destroying capitalism? So welfare is only for those who make seven figures a year or better?
Why is it, when someone suggests a sane, progressive tax policy, whereby those corporations profit from this nation's strong infrastructure and social institutions should pay their share of the cost of it, the right-wing kool-aid drinkers start screaming that the sky is falling and Marx is behind it? Why would they want to return to the economic system of 1929 anyway?
Wow. Could this question be any more biased against energy developers?
Why should it be LESS biased? Biases are often based on fact and this one certainly is.
Let's say you own a trucking company, and you're doing well - and you did it all yourself! Why should you pay the government anything of your hard-earned cash, right? What did they ever do for you?We won't even start with all of the clean food, water and drug laws that kept you from being poisoned, or the public health initiatives that kept you from dying of cholera, or polio, or the public education you likely received...everybody benefits from those. Let's look at your trucking company specifically:First, you are able to have a business because anti-trust laws have kept a latter-day Carnegie from controlling the industry, and second, massive public road spending means that the freight doesn't have to go on the rails to travel long distances. (Sure, you pay some special taxes on your trucks, but it is a fraction of the cost of the damage they do to the roads vs. ordinary cars. Everyday motorists pay most of the costs.)Safety regulations and enforcement mean you and your competitors are on a level playing field, and no one can gain an advantage by compromising safety, causing a dangerous race to the bottom...Strong judicial institutions mean the rule of law is observed everywhere, so no paying "taxes" to the local capos when you cross the county line, not to mention massive police enforcement spending means you don't have to worry much about losing trucks to bandits everytime you want to cross the Arizona badlands or some other remote area...Regulation also means you're getting a gallon of diesel when the pump says you are, and it's not going to be cut with moonshine...Mandatory insurance laws mean that if somebody cuts in front of one of your trucks and wrecks it, you're not stuck with the bill...Government initiatives made sure modern infrastructure such as electricty and clean drinking water and now, the internet, are provided to every corner of the nation, so you can base your business wherever you want...But you did everything yourself.Those of us who actually think beyond the talking head screaming points and who have actually seen how things work in the undeveloped world know how lucky we are to be Americans and just how ugly things can be without the amazing public institutions and public infrastructure that we have. No, liberatarians, the free market alone cannot do the job - if history tells us anything, it's that it does it very badly. Nor can government alone - ask the Russians. It is our constantly tweaked mix of the two that works. It does take something off the top of our highest economic highs - but that allows it to cushion our lowest economic lows.
I want to know who the people who voted "Yes" are.
Excess economic profit usually brings more producers into the market. But when the government will not allow a new refinery to be built, there is no hope of any releif. Sorry I guess I am a troll.
Why doesn't the Federal Government decrease the amount of taxes they charge per gallon of gas? The taxes are higher than the profits the oil companies bring in.This whole Congressional debate is B.S. lip service.
The people who voted "yes" are the smart people.
This whole Congressional inquiry of the energy executives is a political ploy to blame the sagging economy on something besides the Federal Government.
Bring back the Windfall Profits Tax.
"Why give aid to companies that don't need it?"Because they bought the best government that money could buy. I just want to know when Exxon-Mobile, et. al. will insist on being represented on our currency.
So what happens if their tax breaks are taken away? I think the corporate whores will pass the pricing on to us again, so of course the price of gas goes up even higher. Also I thought the point of being in Iraq was to protect our oil interests and keep the oil flowing over here and keep prices reasonable? Well that is not working, so bring our men and women home.
"How do tax breaks to oil companies help anyone except those companies?" -logicsound04The majority owners of oil companies are investors in 401k and 403b retirement plans. Other owners include mutual fund investors and labor union pensioners. Most of us own part of an oil company.
In Kansas and some other states, oil is subject to an extra tax the moment it's severed from the ground. It's called the severance tax. As long as oil companies are subject to a special tax just imposed on them, sure they should be entitled to other tax breaks.
Some interesting comments here with food for thought. I learned a few things. Thanks for the info!
At $12 a barrel in the mid-80s, crude oil was unprofitable here, but still profitable elsewhere. When it got to $50 a barrel, folks started uncapping wells in the U.S. Oil is up around $100 a barrel now. Sounds like at least 100% profit for well operators, and maybe as much as 800% profit. Gas station operators are still running on thin margins, because they're having to pay jacked-up wholesale prices. BigOil is laughing all the way to the ballot box.
question - honest answer please - I assumed the price of gasoline is so high because it costs more to buy and produce and the costs were passed onto us, the consumer. So why did the oil companies post such big profits last quarter? Are they just out to make money while they can?
No tax breaks for profitable companies.No artificially deflated gasoline prices. If it's to expensive to get from point A to point B with Gasoline, maybe it's time to re-think how we get around.Time to invest in public transit and human powered vehicles.
Can everyone agree that all this populist talk about "two Americas" and "tax cuts for the rich" and "widening gaps between the rich and the middle class" is just meant to scare the country into voting for people who want to pit us against each other? If we're worried about how much more cushy someone's lifestyle is compared to everyone else's already-super-cushy lifestyle, we've got our priorities screwed up.
Windlass (Anonymous) says: How many smart dead people are there now, anyway? Is it still 4,000?******Yeah, you are really respectful of our soldiers. _________Windlass (Anonymous) says: So, according to Marion's link to the CNN video, the crude oil producers take the biggest slice of the money pie, but:.American oil companies post the astronomical profits?******The oil companies have made record profits in terms of straight dollars, but certainly not in % of profit. If you sell $10,000 worth of gas and make $100 profit, and I sell $100 worth of computer software and make $50 profit, who's done better? Exxon had 404 Billion dollars of revenue. $404,552,000,000! They are posting that much profit simply because they are doing that much business, not because they are make so much off of each gallon of gas.
Oh, and this poll is completely biased and aimed at getting a certain vote. The use of the term "Big Oil" is clearly a pejorative, and the question lacks any reference to possible consequences. I could come up with another poll that equally biased, for example asking: Do you think we should increase taxes on gas to fund Big Government programs?
Oh, and I voted no because corporations should not be taxed. That only taxes the owners twice: once when the corporation pays taxes, and then again when they pay capital gains taxes after they sell their ownership share. Also, corporations don't have a magic money drawer they pay taxes out of, and they certainly don't take it out of their profits, they pass it on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. So as much as the left tries and tries to tax the rich, it's always the middle class that ends up paying.
Windlass, my point wasn't to start a discussion on where government spending should be cut, but to point out the bias of the question. Adding the term "Big Government" causes people automatically to associate negative ideas with it, and then talking about increasing gas prices would tip the scales even further. But since you asked, all those things you mention could stand some trimming. From the people in the military I know, we have too many bases around the world that duplicate the mission and region of each, and some should be closed and the forces consolidated to save money. Many years ago, the federal criminal courts were relatively slow, but with the war on drugs they're busier than ever. Get rid of that and we could save money on prisons, courts, FBI drug agents and a whole host of other costs. So sure, I would support cuts in those areas, and cuts in many others.
"U.S. military in Iraq feels gouge of fuel costs About $153 million a month goes to filling up jets, tankers, cargo in Iraq":http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23922063/
Anyone who ever thought Nader was good for America was simply uninformed Thanks Marion for the info even if by error.
"corporations should not be taxed"Why not? Without a tax on capital gains, what's to stop wealthy corporations or individuals from living off the interest of their assets, or simply borrowing against them when they need cash? Without the tax "squeeze" or double taxation, or whatever you want to call it, wouldn't corporations just become large tax shelters serving the uber-wealthy?I am interested in your opinions.
I sure do appreciate the Nader-belts and Nader-bags in my car.
acoupstick (Anonymous) says:"Why not? Without a tax on capital gains, what's to stop wealthy corporations or individuals from living off the interest of their assets, or simply borrowing against them when they need cash?"Some really already do this. Many individuals do this as well, typically referring to it as "retirement.""Without the tax "squeeze" or double taxation, or whatever you want to call it, wouldn't corporations just become large tax shelters serving the uber-wealthy?"I suppose that this is potentially possible, but they can do that with all those restrictions in place, it's just a little more difficult. Really, though, the corporation that you just described above is an investment firm. Those exist in great numbers. The simple fact is that the only reason that firms would not do the above thing is because they gain more utility from producing goods or services. For whatever reason, they feel they are adding and receiving more value than just by sitting on their invested assets and pulling in interest, through one method or another. But there have always been companies or corporations that are doing things other than this, clearly.Oh, and no, I don't feel big oil companies should continue to receive tax breaks. I believe that the american consumer should have to pay for the full cost of the gas that they are consuming. I think that some good changes in behavior would result from this.
How about subsidizing wind energy with free cash and tax breaks? The retarded thing about this is that the same people that are ticked off about $4.00 per gallon gas are the same people who stand in the way of energy exploration. If people want to throw anyone under the bus here, it should be the idiotic politicians that are (1) creating energy supply shortages as a result of quelling exploration and (2) print and spend the U.S. dollar like it's Monopoly money. It is a matter of lack of supply and a weak U.S. dollar. Both are policy matters. If you want cheap gas, stop demanding elaborate social entitlements from the government and complaining about drilling for oil in places you'll never see anyway. America isn't addicted to oil. America's politicians are addicted to printing and spending money while the American public ignorantly follows environmentalist loons over an economic cliff.
acoupstick, I find it interesting that your concern is solely with the "uber-wealthy." Why couldn't middle class investors take advantage of the same thing? It seems you're more concerned with soaking the rich than with what is right and wrong, and what is good policy. Just because your neighbor is rich, that doesn't make you poor. Regardless, I didn't say get rid of the capital gains tax. It wouldn't be a tax shelter, you pay your taxes on your gains when you sell your shares, and you pay taxes on the income you get from dividends.
Can we set aside the ridiculous notion that the major oil corporations "only" make a dime on each gallon of gas? For the most part, the majors also control the oil they pull from the ground around the world. Via lease or some other instrument, they do pay fees to the various governmental agencies they have negotiated with, but it is a fraction of what the oil is selling for on the open market. That is the point of the tax breaks - they are generally to offset the cost of oil exploration and bringing more capacity online, and were to handle situations where oil is selling at prices so low that it wouldn't be profitable to get it out of the ground. This way, we would still have production capacity in case world oil markets tightened due to a war, natural disaster, or OPEC getting uppity.So a reasonable person would conclude that we could go in and modify the legislation to end the tax breaks once oil went above some sort of minimum amount that allowed a rational ROI, and reinstate them if they went back below...but in today's CEO world of "My corporate jet has more gold-plated seat belt buckles than yours does", I guess that's too much to ask...the big oil companies also make money at the refineries, which they control an overwhelming majority of. That's the main reason for the tightness in supply that we have today. Oil companies began buying and shuttering independent refineries starting in the late 80's to take "slack" out of the system that would eat into their profits. The KC Star did a great article on it 3 years ago, front page on June 26, 2005. (I'd post the link, but you need a paying account to access the archives of the Star)As for the idiot who said that US tax policy had driven US oil "jobs" overseas, and cited figures showing that total domestic production had gone down over the last few decades? That's because WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF EASILY RETRIEVABLE OIL IN THE U.S.! That's the point of peak oil - production is on an inevitable downward slide. (Is it any wonder it's so tough to explain global climate change to these people? I'm surprised they haven't blamed that on the capital gains tax too.) Peak oil means no matter how hard we look, we're aren't go to keep finding enough to stay ahead of demand, especially in a world where China and India want the American lifestyle. That "big find" in the Gulf? It would have been considered too small to be worth the trouble 40 years ago.
People grouse about BIG BUCKS going IN to BIG OIL because they have no concept of where that money is going besides the pockets of CEO's, which is a miniscule fraction but makes for banners the liberal media can bombard a gullible public with. Oil companies are spending billions of their "riches" finding new reserves, drilling new wells, rehabilitating old wells and implementing secondary and tertiary recovery methods, all of which will yield future energy. In the process, they're buying equipment and machinery, hiring new employees, doing a lot more to stimulate an ailing economy than the liberals who want to put them out of business. Remember when oil was $10/bbl? But they worked through it. How about if you worked your butt off for five years in hopes of being in a position to make lots of money down the road that you could invest for retirement and maybe pass some on to your kids, only to find when you got there, the government was waiting to make sure you didn't make TOO much? It's gotten really scary in this country. Everybody buys into the vapid sound-bites the liberal media spews as "facts", forgetting why free enterprise won out over the Soviet paradigm. Yeah, I know the topic was whether they should get tax breaks, not whether they should be taxed more, but those "breaks" are what stimulate even more investment in the future and, if you've actually been watching what some of those "oil" companies are doing, you know they're also doing R&D on alternative energy, with money that comes from their BIG OIL PROFITS. Are they doing it out of the kindness and goodness of their hearts? Of course not -- they see future profits in alternative energy. I was under the impression that national policy (and public sentiment) favors development of alternative fuels. In a free enterprise system, if you want to encourage somebody to spend money a certain way, tax breaks have historically been the way to do it.
"it seems you're more concerned with soaking the rich than with what is right and wrong, and what is good policy"I am interested in fairness and transparency. It is my impression that tax policies (cuts) are proposed in ways that appeal to (specifically) middle to upper-middle class "when in fact the very wealthy benefit disproportionately. BTW, I have no uber-wealthy neighbors.Anyways, I did not mean to distract you into a discussion of the class imbalance in this country. Why should corporations not pay taxes? As mentioned above, corporations are not necessarily benign entities. They make use of our social infrastructure with profit as their motive, so why shouldn't they help pay for it. Corporations already limit personal accountability, liability, and "responsibility for corporate debt, insulation from judgments against the corporation, shareholders' amnesty from criminal actions of the corporation, and, in some jurisdictions, limited liability for corporate officers and directors from criminal acts by the corporation" (wikipedia) Wouldn't abolishing corporate taxes simply encourage tax evasion by the shareholders? Tax is incorporated into the the price of each share in a corporation that you buy. That transaction is being taxed like any other exchange of goods or services in our country. If shareholders don't like being taxed in this manner, perhaps they should shift the burden to their multimilliondollar CEO and his/her ridiculous golden parachute. Again, why shouldn't corporations pay taxes?
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