I’m starting this thread to chronicle President(elect) Obama’s ever changing policy positions. Compared to his campaign rhetoric and what he actually devotes staff, time, and energy toward accomplishing, we are not getting what he promised.
Some will be disappointed and some will be encouraged. ML
**Barack’s Windfall Reversal **](http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122843615613281339.html#printMode)
Here comes the ‘change’ part of his Administration.
One of Barack Obama’s emerging political qualities is how casually he has been dumping the ballast of his campaign promises. The latest lousy policy to go over the side is a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies.
Throughout his run for President, Mr. Obama argued the industry deserved special taxation on its “excess” earnings. He planned to use the proceeds to fund an “emergency” round of $1,000 rebate checks for families. “It isn’t right that oil companies are making record profits when ordinary Americans are going into debt trying to pay rising energy costs,” he said. The sentiment featured in campaign ads and attacks on John McCain.
Mr. Obama never did offer a good or even particular reason for the oil majors to face this Carter-era inspiration – apart from appeasing the populist furies. And he couldn’t, either, given that multiple other industries profit more both in absolute terms and in returns on equity or sales. Nor could he account for the fact the tax confiscation would merely be passed along to the public in forgone investment in new exploration and production (and thus higher prices at the pump) or lower dividends.
Now with the election safely over, a transition spokesman explained this week that the drop in oil prices to $50 a barrel has made the windfall tax a dead letter. Left unexplained was why the oil companies suddenly decided to stop profiteering, or manipulating commodity prices, or whatever it was they were supposedly doing. But be thankful for small mercies. It is reassuring that Mr. Obama’s calls to arbitrarily soak an unpopular business were merely rooted in political expediency, not some economic philosophy.
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, December 04, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Energy: In the face of plummeting oil prices, President-elect Obama abandons resurrecting the windfall profits tax on oil companies. It was a bad idea at any price. Now, will he also face reality and let them drill?