The “bizarre greed” of energy companies “harms the poorest and destroys the planet”

Opponents of a special tax to tax exceptional profits recorded by energy companies, who are heard in all sectors, are numerous. Since it was announced by the executive of Pedro Sánchez, to raise 2,000 million euros per year, it has been criticized by the companies concerned and most economic analysts for various reasons: the former consider it unreasonable, because they assure that they will be in Spain. The big guys are getting revenue despite their record first half results, and the oil companies say they already pay 5 points more in corporate tax – like the banks; The latter believe that it is not very efficient, as they predict that its cost will somehow affect consumers’ bills, no matter how hard the government tries to restrict it.

However, Spain is far from the only country that imposes this type of tax. The UK or Italy impose a 25% tax on these extraordinary benefits – Rome increased it by 10% this year – and even the US is considering doing something similar. Its chairman, Joe Biden, criticized the fact that energy companies are making “more money thanks to God” and called on Exxon to start investing and paying its taxes. “Oil companies have 9,000 permits to extract oil, but they don’t do it because they earn more without producing it and without raising prices,” he said.

This Thursday, in a scathing speech, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, joined the broader group of voices – especially from the political sphere – who are calling for these special taxes. “Combined energy revenues are approaching $100 billion in the first quarter. I urge all governments to tax these exorbitant profits and use these funds to help the most vulnerable in these difficult times. They demanded. Guterres pointed out that “many developing countries, deeply in debt and still struggling to recover from the COVID crisis, could be pushed to the brink” that began after the pandemic and Ukraine. A good example is the socio-political storm in Sri Lanka.

“It is unethical for oil and gas companies to make record profits from this energy crisis which affects the poorest people and communities and comes at a huge cost to the climate,” Guterres condemned in a speech. press conference during which he condemned. This industry is driven by a “bizarre greed” that “harms the poorest while destroying our common home, the planet”.

other additional measures

Various organizations also see the windfall tax as a step in the right direction. “There are strong arguments for this,” says the Tax Policy Institute, arguing that such taxes “do not distort or change the behavior” of businesses. The director of the Fairness Foundation, Will Snell, also considers it “efficient and fair”. and says objections to it are never strong. Furthermore, he recalls that the government of the United Kingdom, for example, has already invoked them on several occasions over the last century: “The First World War In 2011, additional profits were taxed at 50% of pre-war. More recently, Margaret Thatcher imposed a special tax on bank profits during the recessions of 1981. Snell argues that the tax should be seen as part of other measures to create a fair tax system.

In Spain, technicians from the Ministry of Finance (Gusta) also believe that the taxes on profits that fall from the sky can be beneficial to consumers if they are redistributed among them. In other words, they recommend a separate discount on electricity bills proportional to your consumption. In this way, the additional benefits will flow directly back to the apparent reduction in energy prices.