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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
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature