Monday, October 31, 2005

As cries to hit the oil companies with a windfall profits tax rise ...

... even from craven Republicans, as well as the usual suspects, it might be worthwhile to keep in mind a picture of the profit windfall that stands to be taxed.

Here are 2005 second quarter earnings as a percentage of sales for various industries:

[Source: The good propagandists at the American Petroleum Institute]

Hey, if Congress wants to tax "high profits", how about the bottled water industry? Did you ever tally up what that costs per gallon at grocery store prices? And those folks don't have to drill at the bottom of the ocean to get it.

While if it's "windfalls" Congress doesn't like, maybe it should tax everyone who's sold or refinanced a home during the last couple of years to opportunistically profit from the bubble rising tide in home prices, due to no worthy effort of their own?

In addition, it might also be worthwhile to keep in mind the amount of taxes that already hit the oil industry compared to its profits.

The Tax Foundation informs us that from 1977 through 2004 gasoline taxes alone more than doubled total oil industry profits, by $1,343 billion to $643 billion.

[Tax Foundation]

These taxes have exceeded oil company profits every year since 1982, by as much as seven-fold. (And these are just gasoline taxes of course, not including income taxes and other taxes).

Hey, if Congress is so plush that it can pay $941 million to build a bridge as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge, to connect one town with a population of all of 8,000 to another with a population of 50...


... maybe it should impose a windfall profits tax on itself.