Democrats introduced legislation on Thursday to tax the largest oil companies, which are posting their most significant profit in years, and use the proceeds to provide quarterly stimulus checks to Americans who are experiencing sticker shock everywhere they look. Like those authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, these funds would almost certainly be transferred directly to American bank accounts.
Profiteering to provide relief
The legislation would impose only on large corporations, such as Exxon Mobil, that generate or import more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day and explicitly exclude smaller companies. The 50% tax would be levied on the gap between the actual price and the average price from 2015 to 2019, according to Yahoo.
In addition, the plan would establish a quarterly payment program to provide stimulus checks to Americans who are having trouble keeping up with rising prices. The income thresholds in the bill are similar to those in the third stimulus check issued last year: individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 would be eligible for the payments. In addition, single filers would receive $240 per year at $120 per barrel, while joint filers would receive $360.
American Petroleum Institute criticized the proposal
After the pandemic slashed demand for oil and gas, many of the country’s largest oil producers reported billions of dollars in losses in 2020. Profits for the companies largely recovered in 2021 after drastic cuts to their operations, and oil prices rose as demand for fossil fuels increased.
The American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s leading lobbying organization, slammed the proposal, arguing that lawmakers should focus on policies that increase supply rather than discourage investment. According to Frank Macchiarola, the group’s senior vice president of policy, economics, and regulatory affairs, the American people want alternatives, not finger-pointing, The Wall Street Journal reported.