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Friday, May 02, 2008

Obama's disastrous fuel tax proposal

Barack Obama is suggesting a $15 billion tax on the profits of oil companies. That would allegedly be used to provide $1000 of tax relief for families and other "assistance".

This is a worse idea than George W. Bush's "stimulus" package... and that's already the most irresponsible and foolish bit of enacted legislation that I've seen in Lord knows how long.

Does Obama believe that his proposal is going to slash the cost of fuel, which is soaring well past the ability of most people to easily afford? If anything it's going to make those costs increase even more dramatically. The oil companies will simply pass along the expense to their customers.

Obama's only motivation in forwarding this idea is that he wants to tap into the seething rage that many people are now feeling toward the oil companies, which are enjoying record profits. It's just a gimmick he's pushing to further his chances at getting elected President. But I wonder how many of the people he's aiming this proposal toward would understand that much of that extra "profit" is only because of this government's reckless financial policies, which have resulted in an over-inflated dollar. I'm inclined to believe that there is very little here that could seriously be attributed to "greed" on the part of the companies, for which they must be "punished".

But if Obama were to see this policy enacted, it would be the consumers and not the oil companies that would suffer.

I've already written here about the diminishing value of the dollar. In addition to shoring-up our currency, a wise energy and economic policy should entail...

1. Dramatically reducing fuel taxes

2. Not just allowing but also actively encouraging domestic petroleum production

3. Building more refineries, especially those that can readily process "sour" (sulfur-rich) crude

4. Offering financial incentives to corporations to actively research new potential sources of petroleum, such as the promising work regarding oil shale and bacterial-produced synthetic crude

5. Recognizing that for the foreseeable future, that ethanol and other so-called "biofuels" are not commercially viable and in fact have a deleterious impact on available food supply

Those are some of the bigger things we could be doing to improve both our economy and our fuel resources. But they require some long-term vision and commitment. Not knee-jerk emotionalism and election year duplicity.