"Since the gas lines of the '70s, Democrats and Republicans have talked about energy independence, but nothing's changed — except now Exxon's making $40 billion a year, and we're paying $3.50 for gas. I'm (candidate's name). I don't take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won't let them block change anymore. They'll pay a penalty on windfall profits. We'll invest in alternative energy, create jobs and free ourselves from foreign oil." - Presidential Contender (who shall remain nameless)
In the very emotional debate over oil, our title suggests what at least a couple (we won’t name names) of the current Presidential candidates believe. One recently suggested that Exxon’s (XOM) $40 billion 2007 profit should be subject to a windfall profit tax. Great idea!
Let's punish big oil, they are gouging us at $3.50/gallon. If we garnish their profits, surely we’d all be better off, and the price of gas will fall. We should also force them to contribute to renewable energy solutions, viable or not.
It's not sufficient enough that the evil Exxon empire paid $29.864 billion in taxes last year to Uncle Sam. Nor, that the government picked up another $1 billion in taxes paid on $7 billion in dividends that Exxon paid shareholders last year. Nor that there's a $.184 per gallon federal tax on gasoline; not to mention the billions states receive through gasoline taxes.
Exxon's 11.32 percent net profit margin is obscene. Let's tax them to the point that it is no longer worth being in the oil business, no longer worth developing technology to find oil in very difficult to reach places. That will make us all very happy. We can all grow our own corn, make our own ethanol and we’ll never be beholden to big oil again.
Disclosure: The author does not have a position in Exxon-Mobil, but does have a position in Vanguard's Energy Fund.