John Stossel

Yes, oil company profits have surged as the price of oil rose, but bigger profits are good for America. The vast majority of the money goes not to the pockets of oil executives, but to exploration for new oil. If you take the money away, who is hurt?

We don't have to speculate because we have experience to draw on. "We tried this windfall profits scheme in 1980," The Wall Street Journal writes. "It backfired. The Congressional Research Service found in a 1990 analysis that the tax reduced domestic oil production by 3 (percent) to 6 (percent) ...".

Repeating that would not be a good thing for the harried working families Clinton and Obama claim to champion.

Spiking prices and profits encourage investors to take risks to find more oil, develop oil substitutes and increase efficiency. We don't need a "national energy policy" because we already have one. It's called the free market. When oil prices rose a few years ago, old fields with hard-to-reach oil in Oklahoma were suddenly worth operating (http://tinyurl.com/5bqmog).

Economics 101: incentives matter. Now that the price of oil has reached a new high, oil companies and other entrepreneurs have more incentive to find new sources of energy.

Only that -- letting the profit-motive work -- will bring the price of oil down.

Interfering with markets may be good for politicians, but it's bad for everyone else.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate