Tom Nugent has a good piece on NRO this morning about the consequences of the proposed “solutions” to high oil prices, including the idiotic windfall profits tax.
“A windfall profits tax? Oil corporations will pass this tax back to consumers, thus penalizing consumers. Increased gas-mileage standards for new vehicles? This will punish consumers since more-efficient automobiles will cost more. Mandates for the addition of oil substitutes in the production of gasoline? This at first will penalize oil refiners who must invest in new blending equipment, but the cost of that investment will soon be reflected in higher pump prices. Price controls? This will only benefit consumers who like to wait in line for gas.”
Jim Cramer of Mad Money was also fabulous on Meet the Press (full transcript available here) this weekend, with the following gem:
MR. RUSSERT: Jim Cramer, you are renowned capitalist. What do you think of all this? MR.
CRAMER: Valero was able to buy its largest competitor; the government looked the other way. Valero is running its refineries, though, 105 percent of the time. They’re ’round the clock. We have 100–we have 140 refineries in this country; we had 350 refineries 20 years ago. We have a huge refinery problem, and you can’t build them. And it’s not a federal government issue. It’s a local government issue because no one wants a refinery next to them.
MR. RUSSERT: So what we have is lack of refining capability…
MR. CRAMER: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: …an increased worldwide demand, ethanol being added and blended in…
MR. CRAMER: Without preparation.
MR. RUSSERT: …and do you believe the oil companies have been adding on a little bit extra profit?
MR. CRAMER: I, I think if they could drill they would drill. If they could refine more, they would. These are companies that are run for the shareholders, but they’re run to be able to produce as much oil as we can possibly use. They want to do that. Lee Raymond, he, he generated $67 billion in profits for his shareholders. I think that that’s a reasonable return, $144,000 a day. Katie Couric makes $85,000 a day. What value has she created vs. 67 billion by Lee Raymond?