Just Punishment for Pollution?
In the face of what may become the largest environmental disaster ever, President Obama did what he does best: gave a flowery speech and increased our taxes.
Oil companies face an immediate tax rise of 1 cent per barrel to help to pay for the clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico under proposed legislation rushed out by the White House yesterday.
The measure…would put an extra $500 million over ten years into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which covers damage caused by such disasters.
Now, this sounds like a swell idea. “Tax those big oil companies! Look at what they’re willing do to the environment just to make money!” As an initial point: I’ll be the first to say that BP, and all other responsible parties, should have to pay for all the damage they did. But enough already with the knee-jerk rhetoric and nonsense about getting off of oil. If other efficient energy-producing technology were available, we would be using it (please ignore the 800 lb. gorilla known as nuclear energy). We should continue to drill.
Now, back to the point. There’s a saying that always rings true: companies don’t pay taxes. Instead, they pass them onto the consumer as part of the price of the product. So, increasing BP’s taxes on a barrel of oil won’t affect BP at all, but will increase the cost of gas to us.
The purpose of the tax is to aid in cleaning up spills. In other words, BP will not be paying to clean anything…we will be.