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A windfall profits tax on Big Oil
This idea is a recurring theme among lawmakers, especially Democrats.

Barack Obama would impose a windfall profits tax on the big oil companies whenever oil crossed the $80 a barrel mark. Some analysts feel $80 a barrel is what oil 'should' be priced at, factoring out investment money and unfounded supply fears. The cash would be given to low income people to help them offset their energy costs.

Another idea along these lines is eliminating oil company tax breaks and using the money to fund research into renewable sources.

Opponents say raising taxes on oil companies will result in less oil production, and ultimately lead to higher prices. If the government didn't tax oil companies and simply borrowed the cash to give consumers, they say, that would only hurt the dollar and send oil prices higher.

NEXT: Enacting a 'cap and trade' plan

Last updated September 25 2008: 3:43 PM ET
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