Amid all the hysteria over gas prices, Sen. Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.) has come up with a plan to push gas prices even higher for working families: enact a 50% profit tax on all profits over $40 a barrel. I’m so glad we have these Democrats around. Gas might be cheap without them; then what would we do?
While the Eskimos, who have lived in Alaska for eons, have been pushing for rights to make a profit off the land we stole from them, liberals remain staunchly opposed to drilling in ANWR. Forget the fact that the only way we can get to the refuge is by plane, we like the idea that such a place exists.
When listening to liberals complain about high gas prices, Americans may find it convenient to forget the fact that this is a party that has prevented any exploration and new refineries in the past 30 years. Despite Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R.-Alaska) efforts to please his Eskimo constituents with jobs from ANWR drilling since the 1970s, Democrats have blocked his efforts at every step. Perhaps liberals are blocking oil wells because it may distort the view from their Alaskan mountain home as a speck on the horizon. Oh wait. I’m thinking of windmills 30 miles of the coast of Hyannisport, Mass.
To relieve Americans from high gas prices, Democrats have also proposed a 90-day holiday from the federal gas tax, which amounts to 18.4 cents per gallon. Wow. For the first time since the Kennedy administration, Democrats actually support something resembling a tax cut! How’s that for a New York Times headline? I’m so glad Democrats will save me a whopping $20 in three months. I can finally buy that threadbare polo shirt from the thrift store I’ve been wanting!
But alas, I have taken a couple courses in economics. Taxes are not absorbed by Exxon Mobil; they are reflected in the new $5.50 a gallon price at the pump. Some call it profiteering, but there is a technical word for it: capitalism. Unfortunately, the Democratic caucus seems to think that corporate entities will somehow be won over by the proletariat in the CEO’s heart. Uh-oh, Hillary’s been reading Orwell again. When she wins the presidency at a cost of God knows how many lives, the United States will be renamed the United Marxist States of Orwell. Perhaps I’ll have to put off my shopping spree at the thrift store until next year’s tax refund.
On the other hand, I may not be getting that tax refund after all. With the current income exemption levels of $58,000 for married couples for the alternative minimum tax set to expire this year, all of my 2006 income over the amount of $45,000 will be subject to AMT if my deductions erase my normal tax liability. My parents own a home, so their mortgage-interest deductions will probably set them up for a good soaking by the AMT.
One may find it prudent to remember that the AMT was designed in the 1960s to keep wealthy individuals from deducting their way out of tax liability. Because the 26% tax was never indexed to inflation, the tax is now set to affect millions of middle-class families come next year. House Republicans have offered a bill extending the exemption levels and the 15% capital gains tax, for a total package cost of around $70 billion.
Because the AMT income exemption of $58,000 passed in 2001 has cost the fed roughly $12 billion in revenue losses annually, which could have been spent by Reid, Pelosi and Co. on pork items and welfare benefits, CNN Money has reported that the House Democrats are likely to filibuster the AMT Middle-Class Fairness Act, which is designed to shield the middle-class from the AMT by indexing it to inflation. Unfortunately, Democrats view middle-class as the statistical $25,500-$41,000 a year, as reported by the non-partisan Tax Foundation. What constitutes middle-class in Chapel Hill, N.C., one of the wealthiest towns in the nation, is about $70,000 and up, as the median home price hovers around $400,000, and local taxes are exorbitant.
Senate Republicans have proposed opening ANWR to oil exploration and $100 tax rebates. This will finally make the Eskimos gainfully employed and provide the needed economic development in Alaska. My only suggestion for the proposal is to devolve highway funding to the states, and use revenue from the federal gas tax to fund research and development for alternative energy sources. This will benefit the nation and the oil companies, as they will need a product when the world’s oil deposits are finally depleted. Iceland will eliminate gasoline by 2010, converting to a hydrogen-based energy policy. If Iceland can do it, we can too. However, a conversion to alternative energy will not happen overnight.
As for the Democrats’ pansy-waist solution of 90-day gas tax holiday that will save Americans a whopping $20, it is simply laughable. Nancy, take your “tax-holiday” solution for the gas crises and your beloved soak-the-“rich” (middle-class) AMT, and, as Teresa Heinz-Kerry would say, “shove it.”