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That was fast.
“I’ll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we’ll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills,” Obama said a few months ago when he was running against John McCain.
Now president-elect Obama has “shelved a proposal to slap oil and natural gas companies with a new windfall profits tax,” according to a story in the Houston Chronicle. The Obama-Biden transition project didn’t announce the shift. It was acknowledged after the American Small Business League released a press statement noting that Obama’s promise to implement such a tax had been removed from change.gov, the transition’s web site.
“The promise was displayed prominently at the top of the ‘economy’ section of Obama’s campaign website,” said the statement. “That same information was transferred to Obama’s transition website, www.change.gov, when it was launched on Thursday, November 6th. However, the language regarding the windfall profits tax was removed on Saturday, November 8th in an unceremonious and abrupt manner.”
I’ve heard reasonable people argue for and against the windfall profits tax, and gasoline prices are way down over the past few months. Still, it’s curious that Obama has already dropped the idea given how prominently it featured in his campaign rhetoric. And just over a month ago, Exxon Mobil reported a $14.83 billion profit for the third quarter, a record for a U.S. company.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”