Robert Rapier explains why the “windfall-profits” tax is a bad idea. Taxing the gas companies is as much of a joke as eliminating the gas tax. It’s just not the case that taxes play a significant role in gas prices one way or the other.
Unfortunately, the Democrats, including Obama, are on the wrong side of this issue. The Republicans oppose it, though their own ideas about opening up every wilderness area for drilling would be equally ineffective at reducing gas prices.
Our entire approach to energy policy is fundamentally childish. Rather than face the difficult truth that gas is only going to get more expensive (even if production hasn’t peaked, demand from China and India will always be ready to swallow any increase in supply), they still pretend it’s just a matter of sweeping aside the greedy corporations or hippie environmentalists.
To survive in a time of expensive fossil fuels, we have to change our way of life. The government could play a positive role here, by investing in mass transit infrastructure and promoting fuel-efficiency and denser city planning. But it won’t happen if we waste all our breath yelling at scapegoats.