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Letters to the Editor

Kinsley flunks Oilnomics 101

| Sunday, May 14, 2006

Michael Kinsley's Sunday op-ed column, " Tax the windfall profits on oil " (May 7 and TribLIVE.com), has to be one of the most idiotic ramblings I have read in a long time.

I cannot cover all of the inane statements he made, so I will hit the wackiest:

  • "Nature produced the oil and charges nothing for it."

    That's right, Michael, just go right out in your backyard and gather some up! What do you suppose those $150 million offshore platforms cost to build and operate in the Gulf of Mexico• (Oops, I gave away the answer, didn't I?)

  • "... (N)o one was forced to pump oil at gunpoint a year ago. So, however you figure, in April, 2005 it must have been possible to extract 150 million barrels of oil from American ground for less than $46 a barrel... ."

    Michael, do you think there will be any more efforts made with today's higher prices to "extract" oil that is unprofitable to produce at $46 a barrel?

    Much of the reason that we import so much oil is that America is a mature, high-cost, producing region. A portion of our continuing domestic decline is due to the plugging and abandonment of uneconomic production -- which may be reactivated at higher oil prices.

    Finally, Kinsley goes into a mind-numbing ramble in the last half of his article about tax breaks and Republicans. Hey, Mike, you know the $9 billion profit that greedy Exxon Mobil made in the first quarter• How does that compare to the total government tax of over $15 billion Exxon Mobil paid in the first quarter• (Oops, I gave the answer again! Hey, I guess we don't need more taxes from Exxon Mobil.)

    Michael, the best cure for the high oil price is ... the high oil price! It will encourage conservation by consumers and increased production by producers, which leads to ... lower prices!! My ninth-grader could write a better article than Kinsley's. Trib editors, in the future, please use contributing columnists who at least can string together a coherent argument for a salient point.

    Karl Kimmich Gibsonia

    The writer has worked in the oil and gas business for 25 years.

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