Thanks to crude oil prices that have fallen over $100 per barrel since July's historic highs, there are no more windfall profits to tax. From the Houston Chronicle:
President-elect Barack Obama has shelved a proposal to slap the oil and gas companies with a new windfall profits tax because oil prices have dropped so much in recent months, the transition team confirmed today.
"President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," a transition aide said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."
Obama's proposal had called for using the proceeds from the tax to give American consumers an energy rebate worth up to $500 per individual or $1,000 per married couple.
Asked whether the energy rebate plan had likewise been put on hold, the transition aide said the rebates were included in a middle class ``rescue plan'' Obama released last month.
What's funny about it is that the WPT language (oh, and the part about the tax rebate) was unceremoniously excised from the change.gov website.
It's still up, in all its glory, at barackobama.com.
Note that they haven't retooled any other parts of the energy proposal to match the new reality. For example: they still plan to "Swap Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices". How that's going to work, or if it's necessary given $40 oil, is not explained.
Of course, our friends at Huffpo don't seem to understand that current prices obviate the need for a tax: Obama's Windfall Taxes Shift: First Broken Promise?
Promises, promises. Get used to it, guys.