Thursday, October 30, 2008

Race baiting

By race I mean political race, not race race, and the bait, this time is ExxonMobile's record profit announcement: $14.8 bln in Q3. Obama broke populist this summer -- in a move I did not approve though it doesn't dissuade me from supporting him this weekend by going door to door in Pennsylvania -- and proposed in the middle of the oil price run up that we tax oil companies aggressively on their record profits.

I think it's a bad idea for a number of reasons that I don't have time to talk about (it's like taxation market timing, does not guide future economic activity rationally), but right now, in the middle of an economic hysteria, those big fat numbers are just dangling there like grapes. Lets hope Obama lets them wither on the vine. Of all the things that freak people out about Obama: he's black, he has funny names, etc., the one thing that could be pushed successfully in skillful hands is that he's a "redistributionist." That charge legitimately invokes a set of core values that have been successfully marketed to the American populace for the last 50 years. Never mind that these values contradict other core values that have been prevalent at other times in our history. Reconciling that contradiction is a longer term task, and one Obama is ideally suited to. He doesn't need to jump on ExxonMobil, and lets hope he won't.


Anonymous said...

Amen Brotha! Apart from local taxes and environmental impact fees I think we shouldn't tax corporations at all. Of course, using this logic, Exxon/Mobil should save all its "windfall profits" to save the planet when we finish melting the polar ice-caps and inundating NYC.

Graham Hussein de las Piernas Gordas said...

I don't know about that. I'm not opposed to all corporate taxes, in fact I'm not an expert on corporate taxation, but I do think Obama's tone was reactive and opportunist on this occasion. The reason not to worry about it is that I don't think he could push the bill through Congress.