"The point is, oil companies have got to be more participatory in , in sharing their profits in a variety of ways, and there is very strong and justifiable emotion about their profits."
Thus said John McCain this morning on the "Today Show". That sound you hear is the last of his conservative supporters cringing. Why, pray tell, Senator, do oil companies have to be more "participatory in alternate energy"? Shouldn't oil companies be concerned with oil? Shouldn't their business be finding, pumping, refining, and selling more oil? What gives you the right to tell any privately owned company what they "have got to be" doing? The government is going to force the oil companies to develop the technology that will put them out of business? Has the Republican party descended back into the days of Teddy Roosevelt? Are we going to go Trust busting? Aren't you the supposed conservative candidate from the supposed conservative party? Now we advocate "sharing profits"? Sounds an awful lot like socialism. There's more:
Although the GOP didn't address the question of raising taxes on oil companies, he said the companies "absolutely" should return some profits to consumers. "And they should be embarking on research and development that will pay off in reducing our dependence on foreign oil," he said.
He's basically advocating price fixing without actually fixing the price. Oil companies can charge whatever they want to, but then they've got to return excess profits to consumers. Who decides what amount of profit is too much? In the past the market has dictated this. A business charges whatever it can up to a point where demand starts falling. This is why apartment complexes strive for 5% vacancy instead of 0%. They want to balance on the line between maximum profit and pricing themselves out of the market. This is not only good business, it protects supply. Artificially lowering prices leads to shortages. Just look at the results of rent control in major cities.
Why should oil companies worry about reducing our dependence on foreign oil? This isn't their job. Their job is get the stuff out of the ground and to the consumer. If we would let them do what they're best at - exploiting oil fields - they would reduce our supply on foreign oil. Unfortunately they are unable to do so because our government stands in the way. If he truly cared about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, the good Senator would be addressing this instead of telling the media exactly what they want to hear.
A part of me wants the oil companies to call Washington's bluff. "Screw you! You say we're evil, money grubbing, unpatriotic, fine. We're shutting down American operations and moving Corporate HQ to the Bahamas. Good luck." I wonder if that is what it would take for America to see the wisdom of Publilius Syrus: "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it"