When video of Heidi Heitkamp calling then-candidate Obama “amazing” at the 2008 national Democrat convention showed up in the 2012 election cycle it was quickly sent down the memory hole. A member of the North Dakota Demcorats’ executive committee threatened legal action against anyone posting the video.
The why of that is obvious. Barack Obama is an albatross around the neck for any Democrat hoping to win election in North Dakota, including Heidi Heitkamp who barely won election to the Senate in 2012 after a campaign in which she ran about as far away from Obama as she could without becoming a Republican.
It’s also why, when Obama announced plans for a $10 per-barrel tax on oil production yesterday, Heitkamp was quick to denounce it.
“Way to kick somebody when they’re down,” Heitkamp told the Forum News Service.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]To put the president’s proposal into perspective, here in North Dakota it would amount to an $11.7 million daily tax (based on the most recently reported production numbers), or over $4.2 billion per year.[/mks_pullquote]
“This is never going to happen,” Heitkamp added. “This is some kind of crazy, Hail Mary pass that will never, ever see the light of day. It is not responsible if you’re trying to put together a budget. It’s really, really unfortunate.”
She’s right. It’s an unfortunate proposal, and it’s dead on arrival in a Republican Congress, full stop. More than that, it’s an attempted assault on an entire industry.
To put the president’s proposal into perspective, here in North Dakota it would amount to an $11.7 million daily tax (based on the most recently reported production numbers), or over $4.2 billion per year.
That would just be taxes on oil produced in North Dakota alone. And it’s not just the oil industry which would take a hit. After all, we’re not going to stop using oil any time soon, so that massive tax would be passed on to all the people who use oil. Economist Donald Marron estimates that Obama’s proposed tax would work out to a $0.22 per-gallon increase in the cost of gasoline on top of the existing 18.4 cent per-gallon federal tax.
That would be pretty bad for North Dakota which not only has a lot of wide open spaces that necessitate a lot of driving to live and work, but is also home to fuel-intensive industry like construction and agriculture.
Obama’s proposal is ridiculous. Crazy, even. And yet, it’s coming from someone Heitkamp is on the record as saying she voted for, twice, and someone her political party helped elect to office. Twice.
What will be interesting is Hillary Clinton’s reaction to Obama’s proposal, given Heitkamp’s early and vigorous endorsement of her campaign.