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Will Taxing the Windfall Profits of Oil Giants Fix Countries’ Economies?

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Major oil and gas companies have raked in multibillion-dollar profits at unheard-of levels. Households around the world are reeling from soaring energy prices, while governments are struggling with outsize spending and slowing economic growth.On Thursday, the British government tried to close the gap in those inequities by announcing additional taxes to capture energy companies’ windfall profits and use the money to defray the staggering cost of energy bills — similar to what governments across Europe have done and President Biden has threatened to propose.The logic seems straightforward. Energy suppliers are benefiting from an unexpected bonanza because of Europe’s sudden move away from Russia’s gas and oil after its invasion of Ukraine, as opposed to any savvy strategy by the companies themselves.Shell, based in London, recently reported that it had earned $20 billion in just six months, its biggest haul on record, while BP earned $16.6 billion. TotalEnergies, based in Paris, reported profits of nearly $29 billion over the same period. American energy companies are also taking in gobs of profit. Net income for the world’s oil and gas suppliers will reach $4 trillion, the International Energy Agency estimated, double last year’s total.Such staggering figures spurred the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to “urge all g …

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