What’s a ‘progressive’? Obama shows Sanders, Clinton with new oil tax

AP Photo / Kevin Liles

AP Photo / Kevin Liles

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spent about a quarter of Thursday night’s debate arguing over the definition of “progressive,” and whether it applied to each of them. If you came away thinking it involves a lack of understanding of how the real world works, then you were not surprised earlier in the day when President Obama proposed a new $10-a-barrel tax on oil.

The administration cast the tax as one that would be “paid by the oil companies,” a fantasy that ignores the hard reality that all business taxes are eventually passed on to someone: workers in the form of lower wages, consumers in the form of higher prices (the most likely option here), and/or investors in the form of lower returns. To the extent it discourages oil production, it could also have a disproportionate effect on oil and gasoline prices beyond the estimated 25-cents-a-gallon the tax would cost U.S. motorists at the pump.

Thus, the tax is perfectly in keeping with the “progressive” belief that all sorts of wonderful things can be funded with higher taxes only on business and “the rich.” When Sanders says he’ll fund “free” college tuition with taxes on Wall Street “speculation” — which, based on his comment Thursday night that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud,” would have to include all stock transactions — he not only ignores that this tax, too, will be passed on to consumers. He also ignores that more than half of Americans have investments in the stock market, through such programs as 401(k)s and IRA, not to mention 529 plans for … college savings. These are the families that will bear the burden of that tax, just like Obama’s oil tax. In those European countries to which Sanders points as examples of places that have the government programs he wants here, middle-income workers pay far higher taxes than their American peers. That’s one reason their tax codes are rated less progressive than ours.

The oil tax would, however, be a way to achieve a longtime left-wing goal of crippling fossil-fuel companies. Oil companies have suffered of late as demand has softened while supply keeps increasing. They’re no small part of the rout in equity markets worldwide over the past month-plus. So, naturally, Obama wants to pile another weight on top of them while they’re down. This is at least as ideologically driven as any of the Republican proposals the president and his would-be “progressive” successors have panned.

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94 comments
Ficklefan
Ficklefan

The New Webster, Funk & Wagnal's defines "Progressive" as: 


1) A political person who now uses the the term "progressive" instead of the more accurate term - "liberal" - in order to create and foster a false-positive impression of his or her political philosophy (e.g. see "pro-choice" vs. the more accurate term "pro-abortion" used now to create a false positive-impression of those willing to take innocent, unborn human life (and in some instances sell the fetal body parts for profit); (see also, Nazi Germany). 


2) A political person who believes that any and every problem that the United States has faced, is facing now, or will ever face in the future, can be quickly resolved by creating new tax on the doers, the achievers, hard workers, prosperity creators and makers, the well off, and the wealthy.  (e.g. socialism). 


See also the rise and fall of the socialist Soviet Union and the Communist Party, the current squalid third world conditions in starving socialist North Korea. See also, Red China's pivot from its bloody 1984-like Cultural Revolution to a capitalistic system and phasing out of socialist economic means and methods in order to save itself from collapse (similar to the Soviet Union), and then rise to become the world's greatest economic power). 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Ficklefan A more idiotic definition surely would be difficult to find.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@MarkVV @Ficklefan Since definition fabrication is the theme of the day, the same Funk and Wag you used, defines Conservative as: a person who always votes against his/her interests and instead votes for the interests of his/her wealthy masters. Research has failed to adequately explain this self inflicted harm, but it is believed that many conservatives actually believe that they too will be rich one day and benefit from laws that benefit only the wealthy and powerful.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Obama's bizarre oil tax proposal is dead on arrival with Real Americans in the majority in Congress.

Go play with your pen and your phone, child.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

What I gleaned from posters below.

GA republicans tax gas for infrastructure =good

Obama taxes oil for infrastructure=bad

A tax on citizens = good

A tax on business = bad

Please let them be JK.

GPMAN
GPMAN

@AvgGeorgian A tax on business is a tax on people. Do you really not understand that? There is no difference. You pay for it either way. Democrats rightly figure their constituents will be fooled by Obama's nonsense.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@GPMAN @AvgGeorgian


So you suggest businesses should pay no tax at all?


Is it conceivable that maybe, just maybe, they could pay taxes from profit?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

As is always the case, Obama's timing SUX.

In the U.S., lower oil prices mean falling gas prices, which is a cause to rejoice. For many other parts of the world, oil's collapse to five-year lows isn't something to celebrate. Instead, it could be a reason to take to the streets.

Trying to back business against the wall is like trying to nail jello. The splatter affects us all.

If only he could nationalize business.

Helloooooooooo Hugo.

schnirt 

SockPuppet
SockPuppet

any tax that all those takers have to pay too is good

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Trusting in the ignorance of their voters has been an effective strategy for the Democrat party.

This clownish proposal by the idiot's messiah does nothing but provide comic relief to Real Americans and perhaps to those few leftists who understand basic economics.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@LilBarryBailout Your clownish comments do not even qualify as comic relief, and your insulting name-calling of a President twice elected b a majority of the Americans show your desperate yearning for attention you cannot receive by rational arguments.

Courtney2
Courtney2

A Democrat wanting to TAX & SPEND??   I am Shocked!  

Starik
Starik

@Courtney2 What about starting unnecessary wars and cutting taxes?  Wars cost a lot, and Iraq was all waste.

GPMAN
GPMAN

@RoadScholar @LilBarryBailout He tanked the economy by allowing Ted Kennedy and the Democrats  to force banks to loan money to people without the ability to pay it back. That is what tanked the economy.

Andy Pryor
Andy Pryor

Infrastructure and if you going to tax gas has to be to save social security or car insurance, just a way to blow more money, it's only 25 cents per gallon but must come off if oil goes to 40.00 a barrel

Andy Pryor
Andy Pryor

There's already a road tax on has that generates billions an where did the 700 billion go that was suppose to be spent on infr

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I have a problem with raising the gas tax, it will inevitably fuel more government. We need drastic CUTS in government.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Obozocare, student loans, Solyndra, and your failed War on Poverty for starters.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@LilBarryBailout Yeah! We don't need no healthcare, college education, renewable energy, and those nasty poor people, eh LBB? 

Gandolph
Gandolph

@RoadScholar We had all that before "Obozocare, student loans, Solyndra, and your failed War on Poverty".  Again, you are being disingenuous.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I paid for my own college education and pay for my own energy and healthcare, the majority of the premiums my employer doesn't cover and anything out of pocket.

If the taxpayers cover private student loans why don't I deserve a refund of my out of pocket costs? Where is the progressives incentive to act responsibly and not freeload off of others?

GPMAN
GPMAN

@Starik @DawgDadII Like the entire Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Education, foreign aid, Need more?

GPMAN
GPMAN

@RoadScholar @LilBarryBailout Why is it my responsibility for your health care? You are where you are because of choice you made in your life. I save my money not for someone else but for ME

GPMAN
GPMAN

@Here's_to_Blue @DawgDadII That is the stupidest Liberal argument going. I pay taxes to build and maintain current and future roads. I also pay for the fire dept. and 911 and everything else. 

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

@DawgDadII Do you "freeload" off the fire department or off the police force?  How about "freeloading" off driving on the roads that taxes -- including yours and mine -- paid for?


Your argument will have merit (1) when you provide the money for building a college and pay for the faculty, etc., etc., (2) when you purchase land for a road, pay for grading it, and pay for paving it (3) when you pay the salaries of your local fire department and police force . . . all by your little lonesome.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Here's_to_Blue @DawgDadII

Folks like DawgDadII who pay America's bills have every right to drive on their roads and have the benefit of police and fire departments.

Takers benefit from those things without paying for them and really ought to be thanking the makers.

lvg
lvg

Worst part of this tax is it may go to infrastructure and mass transit which might create JOBS- a dirty word to Cons.They are convinced only the wealthy and Corporations create JOBS with excess cash if they can avoid paying taxes and  Government has no role in creating JOBS. Ask Paul Ryan whose family fortune and trust fund was created from a Construction Company that became very successful the old fashioned way - public works and highway projects that trickled down from the politicians.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@lvg No the repubs talk jobs, but have done nothing in the past 8 years except recently passing the Fed Transportation bill, which they were lambasted by their core!  And these are the people the cons want running our country?

Gandolph
Gandolph

@RoadScholar @lvg You two seem to ignore the fact that the only "growth" industry and jobs creator the last 7 years has been the explosion of growth in government, fueled by "Progressives".

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Gandolph @RoadScholar @lvg Two or too?

really! Only job growth in government? Are you channeling Reagan? Or just ignoring that businesses have been hiring? Or is it hard to get a job as a wizard?

Gandolph
Gandolph

@RoadScholar No, it was two and addressed as such. It was a response to you and the other commenter "lvg" who seem to think that infrastructure like mass transit are not "government" jobs.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

So if GA republicans raise taxes on gas at the pump, it is conservative investment in infrastructure, but if OBAMA does this on oil by the barrel, it is progressive confiscation of income from the little guy?

GPMAN
GPMAN

@AvgGeorgian I have no problem raising the gas tax even though I generally dislike new taxes. The gas tax is fair across the board. Use more pay more.

The president realizes we would pay much more for gas with his idea because the oil companies will (must) pass on the added costs. He just knows his constituents will still blame the oil companies or the Koch brothers for the price increases.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@GPMAN


A gas tax is not fair. Who pays for the roads that customers use to get to a doctor's office, a gym, an insurance company, a bank, etc. Why should the customer bear the entire burden for building the road that delivers customers to the business?


I notice that businesses do not locate in isolated landlocked fields.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@AvgGeorgian @GPMAN Yeah if God just worked one more day he could have provided man with a complete transportation system!

It needs to be built, expanded and maintained. Now how do you propose that to happen?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@AvgGeorgian @GPMAN The employees of the business are customers of other companies, so how do they get to work  to make the money to pay for those consumer goods they purchase, if there are no roads?


If you make businesses pay for roads they just pass on the cost to the customers, so what is the point.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@LilBarryBailout


Funny to see you so eager to pay for business taxes instead of making them pay taxes out of profits.


Let me ask you this. If all business taxes are passed on to consumers, why tax them at all?

William1952
William1952

Consumers (citizens) bear the burden of all taxes. Don't you know that?

GPMAN
GPMAN

@RoadScholar @AvgGeorgian @GPMAN You tax consumers only. It is straight forward and fair (liberal buzz word) and you would end up with more money because the cost of goods would be cheaper. It's not rocket science

GPMAN
GPMAN

@AvgGeorgian @GPMAN Businesses don't pay taxes. They only pass them along. Don't embarrass yourself. 

GPMAN
GPMAN

@AvgGeorgian @LilBarryBailout We shouldn't tax them at all. Then they would be more competitive with other countries like China and we may actually have a growing economy

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@GPMAN @AvgGeorgian


Is it illegal for businesses to pay taxes out of profits?


Your argument could be used to say all taxes on consumers are really a tax on businesses because those paid taxes would have gone to buy goods and services from the merciful, benevolent businesses.