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Will Obama Now Fulfill His Windfall Profits Tax Promise?

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Lloyd Chapman of the American Small Business League asks a very simple question: With oil at or near $80 a barrel, will the Obama administration now deliver on its promise to enact a windfall profits tax on big oil companies?

Some history: Obama promised to enact such a tax during the campaign, and this promise was one of the very first that he made. As you can see from this piece I wrote back in early December of 2008, he announced the pledge as president-elect, before even assuming office.

To their (minimal) credit, Obama's spokespeople didn't use the Big Lie tactic they've been using of late - that is, they didn't simply deny that Obama ever made the campaign promise. Way back in those less cynical days of 2008, they at least offered up a post-facto benchmark of $80-per-barrel as a threshold:

"President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," an aide on Obama's transition team said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."

OK, fine. So now oil is at that $80-per-barrel threshold. Will the administration act? Chapman says it must - and says such a policy will help the kinds of small businesses his organizations represent.

"Implementing a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry is a reasonable, efficient and effective means of keeping energy costs down and helping American businesses and families," he writes. "Now that oil has topped $80 per barrel, it will be interesting to see what President Obama's new excuse is going to be for not honoring his campaign promise."

Interesting, indeed. Stay tuned.