Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Windfall Profits Taxes on Oil Companies

As promised, but first a note of explanation about the post below.

I had to get the probe thing out of my system. It seems a lot of politicians want probes, are asking for probes or in the case of Senator Clinton, demanding a probe. I don't know if it's the pols or the J. schools but I wish they'd chill on the probes (see: "Informant's Tip led to ICE Probe").

I have a few things to note on Senator Casey's WPT bill.

Only one of the freshmen Senators (Webb D-VA) that stood with Casey at the press conference have signed on as co-sponsors. In the case of Senator Klobuchar (D-MN), she should probably resist the temptation.

The wording of Casey's bill is almost exactly the same as Senator Dorgan's 2005 WPT bill. Ditto for Senator Durbin's WPT bill. Neither of those old timers have signed on to this latest iteration of their joie de coeur.

If I had to bet, and you gave me 8-5 or better, I'd say they won't be co-sponsors.
Why? He asked rhetorically. One word, agriculture. Take a look at this corn futures chart (ya'll come back now, ya hear). Here's BusinessWeek's top ethanol producing states slideshow.

How awkward would it be to be chatting about windfall profits on one of the Sunday morning talk-shows and get hit by an ag. question?

From Senator Dorgan's website:

"Since 1996, he has served in the Democratic Leadership as an Assistant Democratic Floor Leader, and since 1998, also as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy committee. He is the first North Dakotan to serve in the Senate Leadership.

In addition, Senator Dorgan serves on four other Senate Committees. He is Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Chairman of the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee within the Appropriations Committee. Also, he is Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee within the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, and he is a senior member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee where he chairs the Interstate Commerce, Trade and Tourism Subcommittee.

Throughout his career in both the House and Senate, Senator Dorgan has worked to advance the interests of rural America."

Senator Durbin's Illinois is the number two corn producer and the number three ethanol producer.

The freshman Senator from Minnesota (#4 corn; #4 ethanol) may want to leave the co-sponsoring on the windfall profits tax bill to Sen's. Sanders (I-VT) or Whitehouse (D-RI).

I'm curious how the media is going to play gasoline prices this year.

Good Morning America is already hinting at conspiracy and price gouging. We may have to dust off the profit margin comparisons between XOM, BP, CVX and COP vs. DIS, GE, DJ andVIA.

We'll leave NYT out. Good paper; really, really lousy business.