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Obama Struggles To Explain Drop of Windfall Profits Tax for Oil and Gas Industry

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Petaluma, Calif. - Barack Obama may already be losing credibility over his explanation as to why he dropped the windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry from his administration's agenda. During his campaign, President-elect Obama promised to enact a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry, which would help finance a $1,000 emergency energy rebate for American families.

During the campaign, Obama repeated his commitment to enacting a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry hundreds of times. The Obama camp ran national television advertisements touting the windfall profits tax, and used the issue in campaign speeches right up to the election. ( Watch Here)

Now, any mention of the windfall profits tax has been quietly removed from the Obama-Biden transition website, www.change.gov, and an anonymous "transition team aide" acknowledged that the windfall profits tax had been dropped.

The Obama camp's explanation as to why the windfall profits tax has been dropped is inconsistent with the facts and the actual series of events.

The main excuse the Obama camp offered was that the price of oil had dropped below $80 per barrel, and as a result there was no need for a windfall profits tax. There are several problems with their excuse.

According to OPEC, the price of oil dropped below $80 per barrel in early October, yet Obama continued to campaign on the promise of a windfall profits tax.

The windfall profits tax was the number one issue under "economy" on Obama's transition site, www.change.gov, when it was launched on November 6th and the price of oil was $54.89. It was removed without explanation on November 8th. The price of oil remained relatively stable during that three-day time frame and any minuscule change would not justify the sudden and unexplained elimination of one of Obama's cornerstone campaign promises.

The oil and gas industry has been making excessive profits for several years, even when the price of a barrel of oil was dramatically less than it is now. At the present moment gas prices have decreased, but with no windfall profits tax in place the oil companies are free to arbitrarily increase the price of gas at any point in time.

In 2003, when the average price of a barrel of oil was $30.06, big oil companies reaped record profits.)According to an Associated Press (AP) article dated January 29, 2004, Exxon-Mobil earned $21.51 billion in profits during fiscal year (FY) 2003. At the time, the mark nearly doubled the company's profit during FY 2002.

It is difficult to believe President-elect Obama's explanation for dropping one of his most significant campaign promises when you look at the facts.