This question is about an answer user253751 wrote to one of my questions on Politics SE.
Consider a country where a government puts a 20% tax on oil and gas profits. Consider a different country where a government owns 20% of all oil and gas companies. There is no real difference - both governments are getting 20% of oil and gas profits, against the will of the customers (who would like the price to be 20% cheaper) and other shareholders (who would like the price to stay the same but their share of the profit to be 20% higher).
I do not understand this because it seems trivially obvious that the two situations are different. In the former situation where the government puts a 20% tax on oil and gas profits, the company makes less profits and all its shareholders receive a lower dividend. In the latter situation where the government owns 20% of the company, the company's profits remain the same and everyone receives the same dividend.
Concretely, suppose the float is 1 million shares, and the company makes $1 million which it pays in dividends.
- In the first situation, the company makes \$800k, so each shareholder gets \$0.80 per share.
- In the second situation, each shareholder gets \$1 per share, of which the government gets \$200k.
After a long discussion in the comments there it doesn't feel like user253751 and I are understanding each other, so I'm posing the question here instead: is there a real difference between the two?