Friday, February 17, 2012

This just in: Dennis ‘The Menace’ Kucinich is Laughably Stupid

That is he would be if this weren't so serious. This nugget of news from The Hill last month:

Six House Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), want to set up a "Reasonable Profits Board" to control gas profits.

Here is a direct quote from His Menaceness (emphasis and snarky ad lib mine):

"Gas prices continue to rise, creating a hardship for the American people, (effect)" he [Kucinich] said. "At the same time, oil companies are making record profits (cause) gouging their customers. This bill would tax only the excess profits and create forward-thinking transportation alternatives."

Wow.. I mean just.. WOW! Where to start with this? Ok let's start with the star of this show Comrade Dennis 'The Menace' Kucinich. First, what are the man's qualifications to determine "reasonable profits" in a market as complex as the global oil industry, or anything more complex than spreading manure? Surely he has had some intimate dealings with energy production somewhere in his life. Well a quick peek at his Wikipedia profile shows that the closest he has ever been to the oil industry is when his driver pumped gas into his limousine. OK, that's probably not fair, I actually saw Kucinich in the Cleveland airport once and he was flying coach. But the question still remains what are his qualifications? Again from Wikipedia he has been a politician or wannabe politician since he was 23!

Like all liberals Comrade Denise does not understand the reason pump prices go up and down. It is just far easier to simply blame the EEEEVVVVILLLL Oil companies and their behind the scene clouding to gouge consumers. It never occurs to him that gas prices vary depending upon that little known economic theory called supply and demand (see your first ever econ 101 text book for this complex theory). Let's all say it together now - prices vary in relation to the amount of a product available (supply) and the market demand of said product.

But wait there's more. Here are some, ahem, specifics from the bill (emphasis mine): 

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.

See that? The words reasonable profits is that vague enough for you? Gee, I wonder how reasonable profits are determined and more importantly by whom?:

[The bill] would set up a Reasonable Profits Board (hell and yes! Another freaking board) made up of three presidential nominees (Wooo Hooo that won't be political at all - see the great works of the NLRB) 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.

Brilliant just brilliant, the bill specifically excludes from its membership anyone who understands the industry. So in essence you will have a panel of unqualified political appointees making decisions that could effectively send the entire industry not to mention the global economy in a tailspin by one decision they make on reasonable profits.
But golly, how could seizing reasonable profits have any effect on the world? Simple economics and history. Oh yes this nonsense has been tried before and I'll give you one guess as to which ex-president tried it. Hint: think peanut farmer.

In 1979 President Carter proposed and got congress to approve a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. However, Carter's windfall profits tax fell far short of its projected revenues, partly because it discouraged domestic production. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Carter-era windfall profits tax:

  • Reduced domestic oil production by 3-6%; and
  • Increased foreign oil imports by 8-16%.
If foreign producers have the capacity to offset all the lost domestic production, then the windfall profits tax will simply shift domestic consumption from domestic to foreign oil with no effect on pump prices at all. On the other hand, if foreign producers can't turn up the taps to offset reduced U.S. production—Saudi Arabia in particular may not be able to meet its ambitious production targets—then not only will we be more dependent on foreign oil, but pump prices will rise to bring demand in line with newly-reduced supply causing inflation. Yeah, you remember 17% inflation don't you? Oddly enough that was in the late 70's when carter tried this nonsense before.

I could go into what Denise the Menace would do with any tax receipts he could get from this scheme but  empirical evidence would suggest there won't be any.

However, if Kucinich wants to make himself useful why not set up a Congressional Un-Reasonable Spending board made up of regular tax payers? Now that is a bill I could get behind.


  1. This verges on insanity !

    Life is hard but its harder if you are stupid. -John Wayne

    1. As Mr. Bugs Bunny, Esq., would opine:

      Whatta maroon!

      This snake-oil salescritter would seeks to convince the gullible lamb to engage the ravenous lion in a discussion of a "reasonable" menu for their upcoming lunch date.


    2. Hehe well said Chris, well said indeed.


I will leave it up to those leaving comments to moderate themselves. Keep in mind that this site is PG and comments should reflect this.