FNC
Tobin Smith
You know, it has become so hard to tell a Republican from a Democrat these days that I've quit trying.

I USED to hold a few key concepts aside that I THOUGHT were immutable truths and values of the Republican party. Like abhorrence for success taxes, or the idea of extraordinary years for corporate profits via “windfall” tax legislation.

Guess I was wrong. Somewhere I missed the memo that seems to have turned everything I know about fiscal conservatism upside down.

A $5 billion windfall profits tax on major oil companies SPONSORED by a leading Republican senator…who'd a thunk?

I wonder if the fine senators who came up with the windfall tax bill ever read the Mineral Management Services (MMS) report on the energy shut-in statistics for the Gulf of Mexico post-Katrina?

Here is a snippet from the latest report (courtesy of the MMS):
• Today's shut-in oil production is 725,218 barrels of oil per day (BOPD); equivalent to 48.35% of the daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico (approximately 1.5 million BOPD).
•Today's shut-in gas production is 3.713 billion cubic feet per day (BCFPD); equivalent to 37.13% of the daily gas production in the Gulf of Mexico (approximately 10 BCFPD).
• The cumulative shut-in oil production for the period 8/26/05-11/16/05 is 87,119,872 barrels, which is equivalent to 15.912% of the yearly production of oil in the Gulf of Mexico (approximately 547.5 million barrels).
• The cumulative shut-in gas production 8/26/05-11/16/05 is 449.474 BCF, which is equivalent to 12.314% of the yearly production of gas in the Gulf of Mexico (approximately 3.65 TCF).

Congress is proposing windfall profits taxes while more than 20% of our Gulf of Mexico energy output is shut down?

Where were these bozos when oil company profits were barely 2% of revenues? Why weren't they calling for tax CUTS for energy companies so they could keep the 25% of the energy industry workforce from leaving the industry from 1985-2005?

And please tell me, in American free market capitalism, when do "profits" become "windfall" profits?

When your party leader's approval rating drops to 37% and you are so scared of becoming unelected that you are shivering harder than Kate Moss on a North Pole modeling gig, that's when.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

Are Republican senators so blinded by fear of not being re-elected that one vote — that of Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, a liberal Democrat in sheep's clothing — turns them into sniveling schoolgirls?

Here's the compromise, you morons: Take BACK the $7 billion in "drilling incentives" from the farcical energy bill of 2005 and give the energy industry the ability to drill where there IS $@#&% oil and natural gas!

The U.S. energy industry does NOT need tax breaks — it needs economic drilling sites!

Why is this so difficult for Congress to understand? The way you make oil cheaper (and gasoline at the pump cheaper, too) is to help create more supply than demand. How could you possibly hope to achieve a lower price outcome for oil if you penalized those very same companies for finding it?

As most of you know by now, I have never been an admirer of the collective IQ of any body of elected officials.

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE SKEPTICAL

I know I am a terrible skeptic and I'm horribly jaded, but it seems so intuitive that anyone who would forego a career in business or any other profession to enter a life of politics is, by definition, a beer or two short of a six-pack.

Anyone who has spent more than 24 hours here in Washington, D.C. understands this: “Federal politics” is code for giving people with no chance for power in their normal life a way to gain a shred.

It is, for the most part, an engaging charade of childlike pretend that involves grown men and women acting as if that they are more concerned for the welfare of others than they are about their own — and pretending that they know how to "fix" things.

Then there are the ones who spend millions to be elected! Jon Corzine spent $50 MILLION to be elected to the Senate only to quit and spend another $20 MILLION of his OWN money to be the governor of New Jersey.

Is it any wonder then that in the same few months we passed a worthless $15 billion energy bill and called it "a milestone in American energy policy," we bring a bill that intends to tax those same companies if they just happen to be successful in drilling for the energy we provided incentives for them to find in the first place?

I am all at once speechless, numb and terrified by the thought that the same people who have come up with this world-class piece of insanity are the same ones we trust with making the most important decisions affecting our lives.

Clearly the ONLY way to bring an ounce of reality to these buffoons is an out-and-out oil or natural gas crisis.

Only when we have to ration natural gas to D.C. because of shortages, and/or go back to an on-day/off-day plan for buying gasoline at the pump, will it dawn on these numbskulls that the energy problem we have comes from INSIDE the Beltway, not outside.

Tune in this weekend to our Business Block, Saturday beginning at 10am ET, for more with Tobin Smith and the entire FNC business team.

Tobin Smith is a contributing market analyst for FOX News Channel and is a regular panelist on "Bulls & Bears," FNC's highly-rated weekly investment program. Read Tobin's full bio here.