Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Do as I say, Not as I Do"

Politicians screaming for windfall taxes on oil companies' "windfall" profits make me see red.

Exxon-Mobil earned over $10-billion in profits last quarter, Shell racked-up $9-billion, BP made $6.4-billion, and Conoco-Phillps was a comparative slacker, earning only $3.8-billion in profits.

Would that I were as sluggish.

Congress wants to tax the oil companies on profits for any oil above $40/barrel. Here are two important pieces of information that you're not hearing much about--and which grandstanding senators are ignoring:

  • The profit margin by big oil companies is less than 10%
  • Senator-investors' profits on their stocks were up 12%

Once again, we have the Pot calling the Kettle a cookware-American.

The New Yorker published a piece of research by Georgia State professor Alan Ziobrowski surveying the stock transactions of senators between 1993 and 1998, revealing their ability to beat the markets by 12%. Most fund managers feel good about a 2% spread.

When's that investigation beginning?

For that matter--big banks enjoyed a 20% profit margin this last time around. How come no one is looking at their books? Oh yeah, they just did...and sent some guys to jail as I recall...and still made a 20% return.

Don't recall anyone in Congress advocating a bail-out of the oil industry when a barrel of oil cost $10/barrel, do you? We've got milk subsidies, sugar subsidies, lumber tarrifs, garment tarrifs, and nothing but red tape and double speak from Washington when oil companies want to build new refineries.

The government will sustain a failing railroad operator for decades (Amtrak) but has not the political backbone to employ a little common sense in analyzing what it costs to produce a gallon of gasoline. When you extrapolate the benefits to society, the economy, and national security from enabling Big Oil to expand capacity and build new refineries, it's a no-brainer.

Which should be a slam-dunk, since that seems to be what we've sent to Capitol Hill.

No comments: