Mar 27, 2007

Working Sniff

Like the pun above? I do, too, and it illustrates my current working condition right now. I'm getting sick from the pollen count down here in Georgia. Everything has been dusted in yellow, and I've got a fever and the chills and damn the stupid weather!

This blog will be little more than a veritible parade of free-floating thoughts from my world. First of all, I wanted to see if you knew that in Califonia - most notably Silicon Valley - that gas prices exceed $4.00 a gallon? In others it's well over three. That's craziness.

I understand that the gas price is all about supply and demand and people are paying what the market will allow. But this isn't a pizza from Papa John's. It also isn't your cable package, which, sorry Americans, is expendable. Gas is more like a commodity for the people of our great country. Those of you who live in small towns know for a fact that there's no public transportation.

Athens, GA, for example has the second largest public transit system in the state (next to MARTA), which says a lot for the state of public travel in the Peach State, if you know what I mean.

I don't propose that we have a windfall tax on oil companies - excuse me, OIL COMPANIES - but I think that there's a better way that the price of gas can be fenagled.

Windfall taxes, however, are not the way to go. As much of a socialist as I may or may not be (depends on who you ask), I still don't support them. To quote Clark Howard, "That [the proposal of windfall taxes] is a perversion of capitalism."

So where do you find a balance? Ostensibly, you'd think that oil companies - damnit, OIL COMPANIES - would have had enough by now and allow a price drop. In a perfect world, that would be great. But I don't know how much power the companies even have over the price.

So, in a practical world, what we do is head up a grassroots campaign to cut out using so much oil, cutting out the demand. It won't work, but that's what we SHOULD be doing. NOT, as others have said, create a tax for making money. That's ludicrous. Paying for gas sucks, but putting the government in charge of taking that money away sucks even worse. Don't you think?


I would just like to include one little tibit: Everyone who talks about the case of the Emergency Appropriations Bill, with funds going to the troops, seems to include Republicans' assessments of the pork attached to the bill. What they don't seem to cover is the fact that the pork issues, including money for Katrina victimes, is something left over from the last Congress, which did not get done what it needed to before ending. Go figure.

And should the President veto a bill with necessary emergency funding for the troops, if he says that it is desperately needed? Shouldn't he sign it into law, or at least allow it to become law?


  1. For the record, in some places in the world, $4.00 a gallon would be considered low. But that's really irrelevant, since we drive more than those places.

    As a tax lawyer, I think a windfall (or excess) profits tax on oil companies could make sense, especially since they've been posting record profits every friggin' year lately. But, like everything else, my support of a WPT comes with caveats: (1) The profits of the tax go directly to keeping the price of gas low (and steady) and to fund projects that would cut our oil dependence and help with global warming and (2) the companies can offset the tax with credits for r&d on non-conventional fuel sources -- but not the tax-shelter type ones that are currently available.

    Absent those conditions, I'm totally with you that it's a silly idea.

  2. Well perhaps we should stop subsidizing the oil industry and start making them pay the royalties they are supposed to for drilling on public lands.

  3. Both of you make excellent points. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate corporate welfare, considering that hundreds, if not thousands or hundreds of thousands, of businesses go under each year. How many times have we done that for Delta?

    But this is an entirely different idea. I'll have to mull over what you've said, but I definitely think you guys may be on to something. I just don't know how you can discriminate between one company and another. Should we do the same to Microsoft? Don't they post excellent profits each quarter?