Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Gas prices got you feeling pinched?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 18, 2022

Here’s everything that Congress has done about the matter.













Isn’t that what Congress specializes in doing — NOTHING!?

But, in all fairness… Congress (the House) did pass legislation about hair styles.

That’s NOT a joke.

Or, is it?

H.R.2116 – CROWN Act of 2021 — “An act To prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair.” — was referred to the Committees for Judiciary; Education and Labor; Budget. In a roll call vote held on 03/18/2022, the act was Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 235 – 189 (Roll no. 82).

And to compound problems, the Mass Media hasn’t done a good of their job of reporting on what exactly HAS been done… as in what bills have been written, and sent to committee. And there have been some, with full information — including the text of the bills — about which are linked herein to the Congress.gov website.

Of course, Republicans have little of any substance to offer except for “tax cuts,” which is their standard tune, and their answer to all of life’s problems.


But, do you ever get the feeling that you’re being manipulated by the Mass Media?

That’s because YOU ARE.

Is there anything else it could be called when full information and details of bills that could help We The People are purposely omitted from being reported upon?

In an article headlined “Gas prices are near record highs. A fuel tax holiday could give consumers some relief.” NPR reported today (Friday, 18 March 2022) that “the Georgia House last week approved a bill to suspend the state’s 28.7 cents a gallon motor fuel tax through the end of May.”

Given that the Energy Information Administration shows that taxes account for only about 15% of the price of gasoline and diesel fuel, a so-called “tax holiday” would hardly provide any substantial relief, if any at all.

Jeff Davis, a Senior Fellow with the Eno Center for Transportation — a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan think tank founded in 1921 by traffic safety pioneer William Eno that examines transportation issues across modes and levels of the federal-state-local government chain — is also the Editor of the Eno Transportation Weekly, and said that cutting the federal gas tax really won’t save drivers much money.

“Well, you know, we’re paying $4 at the pump right now. Only 18.4 cents of that per gallon is the federal taxes. Eliminating that tax would save a driver putting 15 gallons of gas in their car about $2.76. There’s a problem. The public wants the politicians doing something about it. A gas tax holiday is something. And so it’s what comes up, unfortunately. You’ve got to remember, the federal taxes are levied at the refinery. Just because you take away 18.4 cents of the cost of a gallon of gasoline going out the door of the refinery into a pipeline, there’s no guarantee that that savings is going to be passed on through the wholesaler and then to the service station.”

He also said that even if Congress, or some states, reduce or suspend gas taxes, there’s no guarantee it will “trickle down” to consumers at the gas pumps.

In other words, a “tax holiday” on motor fuel is nothing but a joke.

And it’s a very bad one, at that.

Representative Frank Pallone Jr., D, NJ-6, is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and in a letter to the top executives of BP, Chevron, Devon Energy, Exxon Mobil, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Royal Dutch Shell, requested they appear before the Committee on April 6 writing in part that,

“As American families confront high gasoline prices caused by the volatility of global energy markets and Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I am deeply concerned that the oil industry has not taken all actions within its power to lower domestic gasoline prices and alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump. Instead, the industry appears to be taking advantage of the crisis for its own benefit. By keeping domestic oil production low and funneling revenue back to investors and executives, the oil industry is keeping energy prices — and profits — artificially high. And this is all happening at the same time the industry is taking advantage of generous production tax incentives provided by American taxpayers.”

Other Democrats are similarly concerned for working families, and the working poor, who bear the brunt of the oil companies’ greed.

Oregon’s 5h District Representative Kurt Schrader said of some ideas that they were “just unrealistic. I mean, we can’t afford to do all that sort of thing at this point in time. It’s pandering. Let’s be smart.” He was more pointedly realistic and adding that some Members of Congress had ulterior motives, and that, “I think they’re all trying to do what they think they need to do to get reelected. That’s fine. Their constituents maybe feel strongly in that area.”

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman from NY’s 18th Congressional District said that he was concerned with “getting prices lower at the pump, because it’s critical. This is a real problem for working and middle class families like the one I grew up in. And we shouldn’t shy away from tackling that challenge, even as we do the right thing and stand up to [Vladimir] Putin, including by restricting Russian imports, which is jacking the price.”

[NOTE TO THE READER: In an entry published Wednesday, March 2, 2022, I cited data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and wrote that, “imported Russian oil as a percentage of domestically-produced oil, is 4.78%, while as a percentage of ALL oil, imported -&- produced domestically, it’s only 2.82%.”]

Toward that objective, Representative Maloney has introduced H.R. 7103, — “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish an excise tax on the profits of oil companies and distribute them as a dividend to taxpayers, and for other purposes.” — a bill that would establish a 50% excise tax on oil companies’ profits and distribute that revenue to consumers through a quarterly dividend, which on 03/16/2022 was Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Representative Maloney was more pointed in his criticism, and added that, “If I were down at the White House, I would bring the oil company executives in, put them around a table and go around that table like Al Capone with a baseball bat and say you’d better lower gas prices for the American public because you’re not going to profit off of Putin’s war,” referencing a notoriously bloody scene from the 1987 movie “The Untouchables” to make his point.

House Way and Means Committee member Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan’s 5th District said that while he favors a so-called fuel “tax holiday,” some members favor suspending the Federal gasoline tax through the end of the year simply because it’s easier to implement than some other ideas under discussion, and noted that “The relief isn’t as substantial as what we need.” 

Oregon’s 3rd District Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat, and Ways and Means Committee member, also expressed skepticism at the idea of a so-called gas “tax holiday” saying that, “A lot of things people are talking about will make no difference, no difference to the consumer,” and favors a more substantive form of relief, such as limited direct payments to consumers from a windfall profits tax on oil companies which is specifically designed for lower and middle income families, and which has been introduced by Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat of California’s 17th District.

Representative Khanna’s bill “H.R.7061 – Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act” — “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a windfall profits excise tax on crude oil and to rebate the tax collected back to individual taxpayers, and for other purposes.” — has 13 co-sponsors, and was referred on 3/11/2022 to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill would assess a 50% per-barrel tax on big oil companies that price gouge by determining the difference between the pre-pandemic average per barrel price from 2015 through 2019, and the current price, and rebate the difference to means-tested consumers on a quarterly basis.

It’s also important to remember that:

1.) Global Petroleum output/production has remained stable, i.e., it has NOT changed (neither decreased, nor increased), and;

2.) Russian petroleum imports/consumption by the United States account for just under 3% of ALL petroleum consumed in this nation.

In other words, Russian oil is an insignificantly inconsequential portion of American petroleum consumption, and any change in that figure (as in eliminating it) would have practically NO effect upon fuel prices in the United States.

So in effect, the petroleum companies are PRICE GOUGING.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

But HERE is something GENUINELY worth considering!

A Windfall Profits Tax Would Be an Inflation Rebate

A cash benefit to families as oil prices spike would be more important than how it’s financed.
by David Dayen, March 15, 2022

The bill — which has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing — “… builds on what Democrats and Republicans, on a bipartisan basis, did successfully at the outset of the pandemic to help people suffering from the economic fallout.”

“What’s important about that bill, in short, is not the tax; it’s the rebate. The proposed tax just finances this rebate, which the bill’s sponsors estimate at approximately $240 for every eligible single tax filer, and $360 for every eligible joint household. The rebate phases out at $75,000 in annual income for individual filers, and $150,000 for joint households.

“This is certainly a small amount compared to the three stimulus checks handed out to Americans during the pandemic, which totaled $3,200 per person. But this rebate, which would go up or down depending on the price of oil, is essentially a shock absorber for inflation. When inflation is high, people would get a bigger rebate. When it recedes, the rebate would phase out.”

“Oil is not the only product experiencing inflation at this time, of course. But it’s the largest single factor driving up prices, and provides a good rough estimate for overall inflation. Giving people an offset to the increases in energy prices would prevent more significant cutbacks to consumer spending and an economic downturn, which incidentally would be pretty bad for oil companies along with most other businesses.

“Ideally, the rebate should be higher. As the best estimate is that inflation costs households around $276 per month, the proposed rebate wouldn’t even cover two months of household inflation. But since it’s energy-focused, and that’s just a component of the overall mix, it at least comes closer to covering that particular rise in costs.”

“Because of how it’s financed, however, the energy inflation rebate debate will be much more focused on whether oil companies are taking “windfall profits.” There are several pretty good arguments for that. First of all, while the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the main benchmark for oil in the United States, has fallen over $20 a barrel in the space of a week, gasoline prices have spiked from $4.06 per gallon to $4.32 per gallon over the same period, according to AAA.”

Read that very closely again:

“…the price of West Texas Intermediate crude… has fallen over $20 a barrel in the space of a week, gasoline prices have spiked from $4.06 per gallon to $4.32 per gallon over the same period.”

Again, that’s nothing but price gouging.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

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