Congressional Hypocrisy On Oil Prices

So, you’ve probably heard about the “hearings” certain members of Congress put a few of the Oil Executives through last week. Apparently, the Dems are playing a game of “how hypocritical can we be?”

Check out what Investor’s Business Daily has to say:

A hypocritical Congress drills oil executives for high gas prices while driving up food prices by subsidizing ethanol.

That’s really the entire story right there. Ethanol has driven up the prices of not just food, but it has driven up the price of gasoline as well! Remember all those storage tanks that had to be re-engineered because of the corrosive properies of ethanol?

More:

The executives were asked, in essence, are you now or have you ever been profitable? “These companies are defending billions of federal subsidies . . . while reaping over a hundred billion dollars in profits in just the last year alone,” fumed Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

At least these profits are poured into a useful product that fuels the American economy. They take their profits from oil production and put them to work finding more oil. Congress is more concerned with pork-barrel spending than oil-barrel production.

Markey, et al., hide the fact that when oil companies “profit,” so does Uncle Sam. In 2006, Exxon alone paid federal income taxes of $27.9 billion, leaving it with $39.5 million in after-tax income. Gas prices go up, but they also go down. Gas taxes never go down.

According to Tax Foundation data, U.S. oil companies cleared $630 billion after taxes while paying $518 billion in federal and state corporate taxes at an average rate of 45%. Over the same period, an additional $1.34 trillion in gas taxes was paid by consumers to state and local governments and the feds.

So, the question should never have been “How much are the Oil Companies making?” It should be “What is Congress doing with all the taxes they have been collecting from Oil Companies?”

Imagine how low the price of gasoline would be if those taxes didn’t exist.

But look what else Congress is doing to make the price of gas go even higher:

Global demand is in large part responsible for rising fuel prices. Prices rise in world markets, not in corporate boardrooms. It is easier, however, to blame Exxon and Chevron than China and India.

At least China is looking for more oil — just 45 miles off the Florida coast with its Cuban friends. The U.S. Geological Survey says the North Cuban Basin contains 4.6 billion barrels. That, Rep. Markey, will fuel cars in Beijing when it should be fueling cars in Boston.

Our own growing economy will need 28% more oil by 2030, according to the Department of Energy, and 19% more natural gas than was consumed in 2005. Yet we are cut off from 10 billion barrels of oil in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska in addition to another 10 billion in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

If knowledge is power, the Dems in Congress don’t have enough power to light a single light bulb.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Congress’ Oil Barons
Investor’s Business Daily
April 4, 2008

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