Republicans block oil windfall tax


Senator Pete Domenici, R-N.M, has relayed the mixed message of "we feel your pain" (at the pump), while attempting to justify his party's blockage of a windfall profit tax on Big Oil by saying that increased taxes on oil companies would be something Americans wouldn't want.

Which Americans?
"Americans are furious about what's going on," declared Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and want Congress to do something about oil company profits and "an orgy of speculation" on oil markets.

"If you don't tell the big oil companies they can no longer run energy policy in America, we will not succeed, plain and simple," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told CBS Radio News.

That "orgy of speculation" is the issue, of course, spurred along by the falling dollar (more on that below). The legislation, which failed to gain the required 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster (as with the recent
failed global warming legislation), would have required the following provisions that to address speculation:

1. Require traders to put up more collateral in the energy futures markets and open the way for federal regulation of traders who are based in the United States but use foreign trading platforms. The measures are designed to reduce market speculation.

2. Make oil and gas price gouging a federal crime, with stiff penalties of up to $5 million during a presidentially declared energy emergency.

3. Authorize the Justice Department to bring charges of price fixing against countries that belong to the OPEC oil cartel.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the obstructer of the earlier climate change legislation, echoed Domenici's crocodile tears about the pain at the pump while ridiculing "those who think we can tax our way out of this problem."

McConnell's answer?

Drill more oil on American soil (read: Alaska and offshore). Screw the environmental consequences.

Which makes one wonder whether this approach --
to let things get so bad that Americans will support a complete rape of the environment -- might be the end-game of our pain at the pump that these oil lobbyist representativesRepublicans feel so very bad about, especially after these very same Republicans, lead by McConnell, defeated separate legislation designed to provide for alternative fuels.

But then, it could just be short-presidential-term greed -- the 'let's get as much as we can before our policies drive the Republicans out of office' philosophy.

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