“Fill it up” still refers to oil companies’ coffers.
Even if you have to walk to the store because you can’t afford gas, buy some of those dangerous tomatoes.
Don’t eat them — throw them at the Republican senators who today stymied a windfall profits tax aimed at oil companies.
Here’s the story, from David Ivanovich of the Houston Chronicle, deep in the heart of oil-bidness country:
While motorists may be clamoring for relief from gasoline prices now topping $4 a gallon nationwide, Senate Democrats were unable to muster enough votes to move forward with debate on an energy package that contained a number of provisions that already have received veto threats from President Bush.
With the White House threatening a veto of the bill, the Senate voted 51-43 to close debate, well shy of the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
You’re probably wondering how Barack Obama and John McCain voted:
They didn’t. From this afternoon’s New York Times story:
And which Republicans were bold enough to buck their party line?
We know where the presumptive prexy candidates stand, however. Obama has pledged support of taxing the oil industry’s windfall profits. From today’s Brisbane Times in Australia comes this background:
“We did not arrive at the doorstep of our current economic crisis by some accident of history,” he said. “This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle that was beyond our power to avoid. It was the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long.”
He accused his rival, the Republican nominee John McCain, of having an economic plan that amounts to “a full-throated endorsement of George Bush’s policies”.
Senator Obama pledged to seek a windfall profits tax on US oil companies if elected.
Senator McCain responded by accusing Senator Obama of embracing the usual Democratic agenda of taxing and spending to solve the nation’s problems.
The current futile Senate bill was just the latest of many attempts to rein in the historically pampered oil industry.
I know about the sense of entitlement that’s standard in the oil bidness, having been raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, when it was the headquarters of both Phillips 66 (now Conoco-Phillips in Houston) and Citgo (now owned by Venezuela and controlled by Hugo Chavez).
In general, Okies consider unbridled oil profits as a birthright (along with hickory-smoked BBQ, cousin-snugglin’, and meaningful relationships with barnyard animals).
That aside, this particular bill had some far-reaching provisions for Americans struggling with gas at $4 a gallon while oil execs and speculators make out like bandits. Here’s more on it from the Chronicle:
The Democratic plan would hit the oil companies further by gutting $17 billion worth of tax breaks they received back in 2004 and 2005.
The bill also would have tried to rein in speculation in the oil markets by preventing traders from routing transactions through offshore markets and requiring oil traders to put down more money to trade in futures contracts.
The legislation also would have made price gouging a federal crime and branded as illegal efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to control world oil prices.
Yeah, good luck with that plan to rein in not only the U.S. oil companies but also OPEC.