Cranking their class warfare to eleven, House Democrats submitted a “windfall tax” bill on Wednesday that would increase taxes on some oil and natural gas company revenues to 100%. As The Hill reported:
According to the bill, a windfall tax of 50 percent would be applied when the sale of oil or gas leads to a profit of between 100 percent and 102 percent of a reasonable profit. The windfall tax would jump to 75 percent when the profit is between 102 and 105 percent of a reasonable profit, and above that, the windfall tax would be 100 percent.
Don’t ask what constitutes a “reasonable profit” – the bureaucrats will work it out! From the text of the bill:
The term ‘reasonable profit’ means the amount determined by the Reasonable Profits Board to be a reasonable profit on the sale.
To guarantee oil barons get the soaking they deserve, no one with a financial interest (read: no one with actual industry knowledge) would be permitted a seat on the new Reasonable Profits Board, whose members would be nominated by the president. Think of the National Labor Relations Board, but instead of union lawyers regulating unions we could have union lawyers regulating energy companies!
A panel of eggheads deciding how much profit a corporation is allowed to earn is socialism, plain and simple. This is no shock considering the bill’s primary sponsor, Progressive tool and potential Ron Paul cabinet member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Kucinich appears to be taking a break from UFO spotting to show voters in his newly redrawn deep-blue district he’s the Democrat of choice in the upcoming primary. He aimed for “populist” and landed on “socialist,” but don’t expect his cosponsors to split hairs.
What’s saddest about this terrible idea is that it’s so common. Seven Democrat senators – including vulnerable freshmen Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Jon Tester (MT) – joined Socialist Bernie Sanders (VT) to propose a windfall oil tax in 2007. President Obama embraced the policy during his 2008 campaign; “Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families” is the very first item on the old Obama for America energy issues page (view as a PDF).
Of course, I own a few shares of Marathon Oil, Marathon Petroleum, and Spectra Energy, so my concerns are invalid. I should be grateful the Progressives only want 100% of unreasonable profits! Since Washington knows best, the new Board could just as soon take all the money invested by fat-cats like me and stimulate ACORN, the windmill industry, or whatever Michael Moore’s working on.
At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey provides context for allegedly excessive oil company profits, and the Tax Foundation has decades of research wrecking this rickety Democrat hobbyhorse. While it’s fun to laugh at the economic idiocy of clowns like Kucinich, remember: socialist attacks on private industry are key planks in the Progressive platform beneath President Obama and Democrats in both houses of Congress.