Shikha Dalmia uses the pages of Reason to defend the oil companies, since they apparently can’t do a very good job themselves:
Good morning to you all.
We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to address this august body, but, frankly, being summoned for a Grand Inquisition and threatened with the confiscation of our so-called windfall profits is not our idea of fun.
Yes, we all made record profits this past quarter. We are proud of this achievement and, indeed, in the future hope to surpass it. Our survival and success depends on producing value for our investors, most of whom are ordinary, middle-class Americans—your constituents, as a matter of fact—who invest in our stocks through their pension funds or 401K accounts…
In fact, the oil industry’s margins are well below those of Gannett, the largest newspaper corporation—and no doubt far, far below those of Fox News, whose pandering populist anchor, Bill O’Reilly, maximizes his company’s profits by questioning our right to maximize ours. If you really want a reliable revenue stream, why not tax windbags instead of windfalls?
Furthermore, if we are prohibited from recovering our exceedingly high storage costs, we will be less inclined to maintain large oil inventories that help tide the country over during production disruptions caused by calamities such as Hurricane Katrina. Please note that even though oil prices went up during the hurricane, no one outside the disaster area had to go without oil. Surely that is preferable to acute shortages and long waiting lines at the gas pump, which cause American workers to lose wages and the American economy to lose productivity.
Read the whole thing. Clearly, I side with Shikha and the oil companies here, at least as far as windfall profits taxes are concerned (notwithstanding my resentment of the corporate giveaways in the Energy Bill).