14 Nov 2005 Jeff Jacoby: The Real Oil and Gas Profiteers Are the Demagogues on Capitol Hill
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe nails Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) for the latter’s attacks on oil companies:
What would you call a return of $850,000 on an investment of just $20? A windfall? A rip-off? If such a killing were made by someone who was already a multimillionaire, would you be outraged? Would you insist that his bonanza be slapped with a stiff surtax, the better to redistribute some of that wealth to the less fortunate or to the Treasury?No need to wonder what Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire would say. When his $20 Powerball investment paid off to the tune of $853,492 last month, the wealthy Republican jovially pronounced himself ”truly deserving” and pocketed his winnings without a trace of embarrassment. He cheerfully declined the advice of colleagues like Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who suggested he donate the money to pay down the federal deficit.
No way, said Gregg. He would give some of the jackpot to his family’s charitable foundation, but ”the majority I will use personally.”
So it goes without saying that Gregg has been stoutly defending the major oil companies from the clamor for a windfall profits tax — right?
There is a lot in the piece I didn’t know, for example:
Over the past 25 years, according to the Tax Foundation, oil companies paid state and federal taxes of more than $2.2 trillion (in inflation-adjusted dollars). During the same period, the companies’ profits totaled $630 billion — less than a third of the government’s take. Government revenue from gasoline taxes alone has exceeded oil industry profits in 22 of the past 25 years.