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Excess Profit Tax Commentary: A Matter of Justice


The finance minister is against an excess profit tax – even in the case of the oil industry, which can watch the billions gush out of the wells. A state levy would only be fair here.

A comment by Sabrina Fritz, SWR

The state should not intervene in the market, say scientists. But he does that all the time anyway. He gives billions for electric cars or for new medicines or for us to travel cheaply by train. In all of these cases are the state something – and everyone is very quiet.

But if he does something takes, the outcry is great – at least from the economy or from everyone who is close to it. But the state cannot always just give. He also has to take it, especially when enormous tasks such as climate rescue and rearmament are at the door.

Profit without risk – at the expense of others

And so a bigger contribution from the oil and gas industry is legitimate. Their profits did not result from entrepreneurial risk or great inventions, but from a war, political mistakes and a pandemic. The industry can simply watch as the billions gush out of the borehole.

But we all need energy, and that’s why either a cap has to be put on prices or part of the profits go back to the general public, which suffers from the high prices. Even in pro-business England, you see things the same way. And it certainly applies to other sectors as well: If companies earn billions year after year with just one vaccine, one can also discuss an excess profit tax for pharmaceutical companies.

The Treasury Secretary and his scientific advisors are opposed to an excess profits tax. However, the excess profit tax is not about pure doctrine, it is about justice.

Editorial note

Comments always reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.