Monday, June 23, 2008

On the issues: Windfall profits tax

By Chris McClure
Executive Director, North Carolina Republican Party

Not one dime. That is how much savings you can expect at the pump if Democrats succeed in implementing a windfall profits tax. Not one dime. In fact, we already have tried a windfall profits tax implemented during the Carter administration. How did that work out? Well, it resulted in less domestic production and an energy crisis. There were long lines and higher prices at the pump. In short, it was a disaster. It is no wonder why North Carolina hasn’t voted for a Democrat for President since then.

If it is a proven failure, why propose it at all then? Because by doing so you give the appearance of doing something without actually doing anything to lower prices at the pump. Democrats don’t want lower gas prices. They never have. For the sake of forced conservation or increased revenue, Democrats have consistently opposed decreasing taxes on gas. Just ask Kay Hagan and the Democrat leadership in the General Assembly what they have done during her stint in office to lower gas prices for North Carolinians paying the price at the pump. As gas prices go up, so do taxes and nothing has been done to stop it. So now Democrats go back to the tried and true class warfare rhetoric and attack Big Oil as the evil entity guilty of ruining American lives and bottom lines. You’ll notice there is no talk of how much the government is taking in from taxes on each gallon of gasoline. There is no offer of giving up a little bit of their share to make the lives of North Carolina families just a little easier this summer. Punishing big oil companies might seem just or feel right but it won’t lower gas prices one dime. In fact, it will almost certainly cause us to pay even more at the pump. This is truly a “solution” we can’t afford.

Meanwhile, Democrats are united in their opposition to finding any way to increase domestic production and exploration. The new Democrat talking point is, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem.” Of course, no one is saying we can. Republicans have advocated drilling in places like ANWR as a temporary solution while we release American industry and ingenuity to make us completely independent from foreign oil forever. Democrats say we won’t be able to get oil from these places for five years. Well, we won’t be driving cars that use only alternative fuels in five years either but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start working on the technology. Barack Obama’s proposal for lowering energy prices is the familiar windfall profits tax and suing OPEC. So let me get this straight. We can’t drill our way out of this problem, but we can tax and litigate our way out of it. This is utter nonsense. Here is the truth. Democrats are against increasing domestic production because they are held captive by powerful environmental lobbies and special interests. They will put their agendas over the needs of North Carolina consumers no matter how desperate times get. Democrats want high oil prices. They always have.