Last week, six Members of Congress, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), introduced the "Gas Price Spike Act."
With concerns over the likelihood of higher gas prices this summer, the bill and its sponsors propose the creation of a "Reasonable Profits Board" that would control the profits of oil and gas companies.
Under the bill, this board – made up of unelected bureaucrats – could apply a "windfall profit tax" on the sale of oil and gas at rates of 50% to 100%. These taxes would take aim at corporate profits that the board feels are "unreasonable" or "unfair."
Congress would then appropriate the money raised to subsidize electric vehicles and mass transit.
Now you may want to take a second and breathe, because this is no satire.
Oh, and the proposed bill offers no specific guidance on how the board would determine what represents a "reasonable profit." How do we even begin to define this term? Are some profits more unreasonable than others? And who decides what is "reasonable?"
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) last week shattered earnings expectations. The electronics company has a profit margin north of 20%; meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has a sector-wide margin a little less than 10%.
And though the price of oil and gas will rise in the future – and despite the name of the bill – a reasonable profits board would do nothing to improve consumers' plights at the pump.
In fact, it would only make things worse for people like you and me.
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