Windfall, Smindfall

Obama’s tax and energy policies do have holes. The biggest would be his call for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, a bad idea from the ’70s that hasn’t improved with age. The problem is that oil companies’ profits aren’t all that large. Sure, Exxon made almost $12 billion last quarter. But it’s a huge company and its income figures aren’t disproportionate to the scale of its enterprise. Last I looked, its profit margin was only about 10 percent, which isn’t a number that suggests the company is spectacularly well-managed or all that great an investment.

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