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Dems Propose Regulatory Board For Oil Company Profits

And -- I'm not making this up -- the group would be called the "Reasonable Profits Board". Oy:
Six House Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), want to set up a "Reasonable Profits Board" to control gas profits.

The Democrats, worried about higher gas prices, want to set up a board that would apply a "windfall profit tax" as high as 100 percent on the sale of oil and gas, according to their legislation. The bill provides no specific guidance for how the board would determine what constitutes a reasonable profit.

The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784, would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding "a reasonable profit." It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.

The bill would also seem to exclude industry representatives from the board, as it says members "shall have no financial interests in any of the businesses for which reasonable profits are determined by the Board."

According to the bill, a windfall tax of 50 percent would be applied when the sale of oil or gas leads to a profit of between 100 percent and 102 percent of a reasonable profit. The windfall tax would jump to 75 percent when the profit is between 102 and 105 percent of a reasonable profit, and above that, the windfall tax would be 100 percent. The bill also specifies that the oil-and-gas companies, as the seller, would have to pay this tax.
Now, I'm no fan of huge windfall profits that these "big oil" companies receive. I'd love it if Exxon/Mobile and their ilk felt the same tax burden as the average middle-class American.

HOWEVER, the idea that we should create a regulatory 'board' dedicated to ensuring 'reasonable profits' is, well, crazy.

What is to stop a regulatory body like this to move from the oil companies to, say, the entertainment industry? Or convenience store chains?

It is not outside of reasonable assumption to say that a group of regulators will eventually work their way into the private lives of individuals who they feel are making too much money.

Bottom line: it's a slippery slope folks.