18 January 2007


A fine example of equivocation - and the fallacious argument that results therefrom - in the News-Miner:

Imagine you’ve gone through lengthy discussions with some people who want to change the way the government they represent taxes your business. You tell them you don’t like the final result but tell yourself that the new tax system is what it is. You leave the table and return to the details of running your business.

And then one day the phone rings.

“Listen, we don’t think that tax system we came up with is all that hot. Oh, we know we told you we were done and that it hasn’t really been in place for very long. And we know we don’t really know if it will work out well for us or not, but we just don’t like it. And we want to change it.”

An oversimplified parallel to the efforts to overhaul last year’s overhaul of Alaska’s oil tax system? Hardly.

Yet that’s what two Democratic legislators propose in their legislation to revamp last year’s petroleum profits tax, an issue that most thought was settled after months of contentious work by the Legislature, of negotiations with then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, and of trying to divine the intentions of the oil industry leaders who came to express their views.

They equivocate with "some people" in the first sentence and "two Democratic legislators" in the last paragraph I've posted. Yes, it's true that oil companies did consult with some people - the majority (Republican) members of the House and Senate. The two Democratic lawmakers (and numerous others) tried to raise the issues they are raising now but were shut out and out-voted.

The wonder and joy of democracy - but also the great frustration for an oil company - is that there are dozens of voices competing to be heard and devise a solution to a problem. If some of those voices want to keep raising their alternate view, it should be welcomed and heard, not shut out. That's how the system works.

So, yes, the News-Miner argument is not only "oversimplified," it's just downright fallacious.

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