Windfall Greed

by Don Boudreaux on October 26, 2005

in Politics

Those who clamour for a "windfall profits tax" (a la Jimmy Carter a quarter century ago) should consider the facts reported here by The Tax Foundation’s Scott Hodge and Jonathan Williams.

Here’s the key point:

[O]ften ignored in this debate is the fact that oil industry profits are highly cyclical, making them just as prone to “busts” as to “booms.” Additionally, tax collections on the production and import of gasoline by state and federal governments are already near historic highs. In fact, in recent decades governments have collected far more revenue from gasoline taxes than the largest U.S. oil companies have collectively earned in domestic profits.

No private cash flow, no matter how temporary or how useful it might be, is immune to politicians’ greed.

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