Would a windfall tax be good for America?


Surprise, surprise.
Exxon reported record profit sales for the past quarter. Over the past several months, including an interview this week, I've had an opportunity to discuss the economic downturn with both of Iowa's U.S. Senators. And both lay the blame of the downturn at the feet of President Joe Biden.
They're Republicans and he's a Democrat. We all know that's how the game is played.
But we've seen this play out time and time again. When gas prices go up, there's always the blame game from the right and corporate America for the rising costs, and gas companies never shoulder the blame, but then report record profits.
According to CNN, Exxon made $2,254 per second over the past quarter.
That's per second.
President Biden waived off recession talk this week citing a declining unemployment rate and job creation numbers, which probably work against each other.
I'm not an economist, but that seems to be part of the problem - creating jobs when people aren't ready to go back to work. Of course we need jobs, but just look here in our own backyard where we have more jobs than people to willing to fill them. Play close attention to that sentence structure.
I just bought a truck knowing full well I'd pay more for gas. I knew the game going in. So I don't get frustrated when the dollar figure rolls over three figures. But when I see profit margin's soaring while the rest of us adjust budgets to help pad those books, it is a bit eyebrow raising.
Everyone who sees these prices agrees with it, but they will engage in misdirection.
I've said this a hundred times, capitalism is what makes America great. We have to have socio-economic stratification, that layering of the economy assures us that all jobs needing to be done, get done.
It creates wealth where wealth does the most good and creates  the labor to create the wealth.
But Great Britian's conservative parliament in May, led by Boris Johnson, did something recently that we should give also give credence to.
It's called a windfall tax.
Great Britain has installed a windfall tax back as early as 1997 to offset record utlity prices after state-owned services were privatized. The revenue generated was used to launch national employment programs.
In 2022, Johnson led the effort again to impose a heavy tax on energy companies which is being used to address the cost of living increases in England.
Right now these prices are running unchecked and I believe they count on us being empathetic to the economy as a way to slide the record profits across.
A windfall tax could be used to help offset the huge burden of not only the America Rescue Plan Act, but also the Biden Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
It's my thinking that as the general election gets closer, gas prices will continue to go down. They could stay down as gas companies have taken the cream off the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
But at the very least we should be wagging a finger in the direction of the companies that are seeing these unheard of margins. The most we can do is ask our federal legislators to look closer at how record profits are being banked, while the economy sputters.
Speaking of wagging a finger, the city's attorney Pat O'Connell of Lynch Dallas said at the last city council meeting that a last minute minor amendment to the insurance coverage required in the agreement was of little concern to the public.
The amendment to the agreement came after it was approved in an odd sequence that the council and mayor, to their credit, recognized. Councilman Kevin Rink asked if the council had just done something wrong, to which O'Connell made the remark.
The change had no bearing on the validity of the agreement, or its importance to the project, but the response from counsel made me shake my head - But that's Beside the Point.
Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at charles.v@pencitycurrrent.com.

Beside the Point, editorial, column, Chuck Vandenberg, opinion, energy prices, gasoline, windfall tax, Pen City Current, Sunday,


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