So I'm sitting at my computer this morning scanning the internet news websites like I do every day, when I happen upon an article in the 'Frankfort Times' titled "Sen. Targets Oil Cos. Over Rising Prices". (1) The Sen. in question, it turns out, is Senator Arlen Specter (2), one of the more left-leaning, and consequently, ridiculous of the GOP's leaders.
According to the article, Mr. Specter is pushing for a windfall profits tax on oil companies in an effort to curb rising gasoline prices. Of course, the first thing that came to mind upon reading this was WHAT A MORON, however, after a moment or two of reflection I started thinking that the Pennsylvanian Senator was probably not nearly a stupid as he supposes YOU are... and I as well.
After all, anyone who's been in the Senate for as long as Mr. Specter, no matter how naturally dimwitted he may be, has to understand that taxing a business isn't going to cause it to reduce its prices. If anything, it'll just pass that increased cost onto you the consumer. Moreover, I'm also quite certain that even the biggest numbskulls in our government know that between federal and state taxes, nearly a quarter of what you and I pay at the pumps goes directly to politicians, who in turn squander it as if magical money fairies visited all our homes on a regular basis. On the other hand, only a few pennies on the dollar go to the big oil companies in actual profit.
As a matter of fact, most of the items you buy at your local mini-mart/gas station have far higher profit margins than gasoline, and few of them are taxed as much. Think about it, how much do you suppose it costs, say, a bottled water company to produce its product per gallon? Now think about how much people routinely pay for a 12 ounce plastic container of Evian, or Poland Spring water. What are those prices up to now, $1.35... more? And we're bitching about the cost of gasoline??
Sure, American oil companies (3) (4) (5) (6) rake in tens of billions of dollars in profits every year, but that's because they are among the largest companies in existence, employing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in over 200 countries, and their products are purchased by nearly everyone in the industrialized world. Should we punish them for being successful, and if we do, aren't we really punishing their lowest wage-earning, least protected employees?
I mean, if you think that CEO's and other millionaire executives of large corporations are going to just bend over and take it in their wallets if we increase their taxes, then I can only wonder what life is like on your planet, because here on earth, tax burdens ALWAYS trickle down. It's the low man on the totem pole that gets the shaft, not the head honcho, and even if that were not the case, how would punishing some corporate big-wig with tax hikes benefit anyone but the government?
Beyond that, a lot of folks out there think we should be concentrating more on the development of alternative energy sources these days, and I for one couldn't agree more, but what are we supposed to do over the next few decades while we're waiting around for cost-effective replacements for gas and oil to appear? I suppose we could all heat our homes with wood, and buy tiny, eggshell-reinforced cars, but that would only cause the tree-huggers of the world to rampage, and drive up the cost of everyone's auto insurance. Either way you look at it, the environMENTALists won't be happy, and everyone who drives a car will end up paying more money.
I've also heard several popular talking heads on tv and radio recently spouting off about energy conservation as a means of reducing demand, and consequently causing prices to drop, but even if everyone in this country cut back more on their consumption than they already have for an indefinite period of time, our demand as a nation would still increase in relative short order, because our population is growing by millions every year.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for people using less petroleum products when they can, but let's face facts here, there's no way we're going to conserve our way out of the current mess we find ourselves in unless half the people in America start riding bicycles to work for the foreseeable future.
In my opinion, which by the way, just happens to be the opinion of most U.S. citizens, the first thing we need to do is begin drilling and refining more oil domestically... NOW! Yes, it'll be several years before we begin to reap the benefits of increased production here at home, but so what? We've spent the last two decades listening to the mindless babble of environmentalists, cutting back on oil production and letting our nuclear power infrastructure rot to pieces, and look where it's got us. Does anyone out there think that we won't have the same problems in 2016 that we're having right now... and probably far worse?
In spite of what members of the far left have to say about the issue, we do not have to be locked into an either/or mentality when it comes to dealing with our energy problems. The best plan is multi-faceted, and it includes (but is not limited to) conservation, alternative energy development, AND increased oil production. The one thing it should NEVER include, however, is bloated, punitive taxes on anyone!
If you ask me, and I can think of no good reason why you shouldn't, political hacks like Arlen Specter are either complete imbeciles, or they have such utter contempt for the average American's intellect that they honestly believe we'll buy into their "punish the rich, and the poor will prosper" line.
Edward Daley was born to American parents on a U.S. military base in Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada, and moved to the United States as an infant. He became active in politics in 1984, the first year he was old enough to vote for the President of the United States. He is currently a political op-ed columnist for upwards of 38 on-line conservative journals and magazines, and a landlord of rental property. Edward has been a salesman, bar doorman, typesetter, and security guard. He is a college graduate with a number of hobbies and interests, including reading, writing poetry and short stories, web designing, watching professional football, and drinking 12-year-old single malt scotch.