Friday, April 28, 2006

Record Profits: Record Temptation

"The temptation in Washington is to tax everything," the president said Friday in a news conference.

"Taxing enormous oil industry profits is not the way to calm Americans' anxieties about pain at the gas pump, and [Bush's] 'inclination and instincts' are that major oil companies are not intentionally overcharging drivers."

Of course, Demon Princess thinks that's just another variation on "trust me, would I stomp on Americans' civil liberties by spying without authorization?" That's what it seems to mean when Bush exhorts us to trust his "inclination & instincts.'

"Some Democrats have viewed this week's announcement by major oil companies of huge first-quarter profits as a chance to renew their push for a windfall profits tax. But though a few Republicans, including Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, have said the idea ought to be examined, Bush and most GOP lawmakers strongly oppose it.

"Bush's remarks suggested the former Texas oilman is unlikely to take harsh action against oil companies despite public anger about the rising cost of fuel. Gasoline is averaging $2.92 a gallon across the country, up 69 cents from a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report."

"With politicians concerned the issue could tilt what are expected to be close midterm elections this fall, the president and many in Congress have been rushing to offer solutions, most of which would offer little immediate relief. "Instead, Bush called on Congress to ease regulations that make it difficult to expand the nation's refining capacity. He also urged oil companies to plow their profits into finding and producing more energy, such as by building natural gas pipelines or pursuing renewable energy sources — all ventures that could further boost the companies' bottom lines.

"Three days ago, the president announced a series of steps, including calling on his administration to investigate possible price gouging. But he admitted Friday that he thinks it's probably not happening.
The president has supported the rolling back of some oil industry tax breaks that were enacted with his support just eight months ago. That tax break recission is part of a broader gas price-relief plan offered by the Senate GOP leadership, but House Republicans signaled this week they won't go along.


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