The Winds Have Shifted

It seems that even Obama can sense when the winds have shifted and his campaign promises are best left lying in gutter. With oil prices now under $50 a barrel for light crude – down from a high of $147 during last July – Obama has decided not to implement his windfall profits tax upon US oil companies.

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters):

President-elect Barack Obama is not planning to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies because prices have dropped below $80 a barrel, an aide said on Tuesday…

Obama, who signaled early in his campaign for the White House that he would take an active approach to oil markets as president, had planned to use the revenue from a windfall profits tax to fund a tax rebate for low- and middle-income families struggling with high energy prices.

The environmentalists in specific and the Left in general are gnashing their teeth over what they perceive as a betrayal by their Messiah. Meanwhile the oil companies are breathing a sigh of relief and crowing just a bit. Both groups are to some extent acting like idiots.

Let’s look at this from a pragmatic point of view. President-elect Obama is a politician – one raised in Chicago’s school of political street fighting – with political goals. It does not serve his purposes to use a tax to steal money from the oil companies when there’s no available money to be had. This is no way indicates that Obama doesn’t want to take money from the oil companies and use it for his own aims. If and when oil prices climb again, he’ll be more than willing to snatch as much as he can get away with.

There’s also another point that the environmental types should remember – Obama’s proposed windfall profits tax upon the oil companies wasn’t intended to be spent on green power; it was meant to be spent on an “energy rebate” ($500 to individual workers, $1,000 to families). With the drop in fuel / energy costs, this rebate is no longer needed.

On the other hand, the oil companies need to remember that Obama is no where’s near being their friend. They should keep it firmly in mind that this is a stay of execution, not a pardon. Obama and the Left have already tried them and found them guilty of the worst crime in the Left’s view of America – wealth. Obama and his constituents and helpers – Pelosi comes quickly to mind – will come for the oil companies sooner or later.

As I said, the winds have shifted – but it’s mostly nothing more than hot air.

Related Reading:

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Politics from A to Z
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Becoming (Spanish Edition)
Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy

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