Politicians are masters at leaping on current events to push their favorite policies, even when said leap takes them right over the cliff.

A case in point: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose disgust with oil companies knows so few bounds that she’s willing to use the Putin-driven oil price rise to bring back windfall profits taxes:

“Putin’s war is causing gas prices to rise, but this is no excuse for large oil companies to pad their bottom line with war-fueled profits,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) along with an MSNBC video of her explaining her stance. “Senate Democrats are watching closely—and already working on a windfall profits tax.” Warren also said that she gets “supply and demand—that prices go up” but that “profit margins should not go up, that’s just oil companies gouging.”

We suggest Warren neither “gets,” nor has any inclination to get, how commodity prices work in a global market. We’re also confident the good senator has a kind of policy amnesia that prevents her from recalling the days when Jimmy Carter’s windfall profits tax was in effect. It was a bust:

“The main purpose of the tax was to recoup for the federal government much of the revenue that would have otherwise gone to the oil industry as a result of the decontrol of oil prices,” noted a 2009 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report. That report found that the windfall profits tax (WPT) raised far less money than projected by the Carter administration while simultaneously reducing the amount of domestic oil that would have  otherwise been supplied…

Warren is as incurious about history as economics, so it’s little wonder she would go this route. But if her intent to is merely to line Uncle Sam’s pockets and destroy domestic oil production (which would drive up global oil prices) then Warren is absolutely on the right track.


To the poorhouse. Which you will pay for.