Experience with a wartime excess profits tax indicates that it tends to encourage needless and wasteful expenditures. With government bearing 80 to 90 per cent of the cost of business operations, there is little incentive for a corporation to increase the efficiency of its organization.
An excess profits tax is not in keeping with our competitive enterprise system. It suggests that government can decide how much profits should be, which profits are excessive, and which are not excessive. If this is possible with the energy producing segment of the economy, then is it not possible with other segments of the economy? Where do we stop? What will be the shortages next year and the next, and which businesses will be subjected to government regulation and control of their profits?
This country was built by men who used American ingenuity and know-how to meet the shortages and the needs of the people through the profit motive. It would be unwise to set a precedent of government control of profits when conditions of shortage arise. We believe this would not be in the best interests of the public and a free economy.
Such a tax inevitably discourages capital investment that is so important for the development of new energy resources. There is a definite psychological effect on investors who know that any success will be subject to a tax that could consume almost the entire profit.