Tired of high gas prices? Blame the government!

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Yes, it's true. When you're ranting about high prices at the gas pump, you really shouldn't be blaming the oil companies. You should be blaming our government. It is our government that has been gouging consumers, not the oil companies.

Don't believe me? The Tax Foundation put together a nice little graph that illustrates the issue. Their research shows that since 1981, the total oil industry taxes have exceeded oil industry profits in every year except the last three. Translation: Government tax collections on oil have been far greater than any profits the oil companies have made.

From 1981 through 2006, the Tax Foundation reports that the government collected $1.65 trillion in taxes on oil (adjusted for inflation). During that same period, the combined profits of the 16 largest domestic oil companies was only $1.12 trillion, or only 68% of the taxes paid.

So it's clear... if anyone is gouging us at the gas pump, it's our own government. The question is: When will the politicians quit playing fast and loose with our money? When are they going to let us keep more of our own hard earned money, and let us decide how best to spend it?

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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