October 1, 1979

Tax Review: The Oil Excise Tax: Another Government Windfall

The Windfall Profits Tax, writes Professor Meiselman in this issue of Tax Review, will not solve the energy problem; in fact, it will make the U.S. even more dependent on foreign oil. After examining the rationale behind the windfall tax, the author describes this “new and major tax” as a “money machine” designed to finance still larger Federal budgets and to compensate for “embarrassingly large Federal deficits.” Some of Dr. Meiselman’s analysis is addressed to the specifics of the House-passed energy bill (HR 3919) which the Senate and Conference Committee may alter significantly. His main argument, however, focuses on the “windfall profits” tax concept and is very pertinent to the current debate.

A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities.