Big oil’s tax break

Dear Editor:

Every now and then something comes along that just may cause folks to consider absurd even if usually opposed politically, theologically and philosophically.

I am going to offer the March 29, 2012 United States Senate vote to turn back a bill that would repeal big oil’s tax break. Tax break… subsidies… Going to use that old business axiom if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. It would have been nice, but unfair; to use the headlines promoting the assumption big oil handed out Christmas bonuses. But it all became more confusing with further reading.

The tax break was $4 billion. The Senate vote was 51-47 to keep the tax break with the argument the $4 billion was needed to stabilize gasoline prices and promote exploration. Two Republicans voted to repeal the tax break while four Democrats voted to keep big oil’s subsidy.

There is literature arguing that there is a Democratic hostility toward domestic production reflected in the higher gas prices. Then I read there is a lot of domestic production. There should be more exploration instead of alternative energy. This only harkens the old ‘One Trick Pony’ parable.

I became alarmed that big oil may have lost money in 2011 so I googled.

The big five oil companies made $137 billion in 2011. Oil production and its equivalent were down 4 percent from 2010. $38 billion was used to repurchase their own stock. They had $58 billion in cash reserves. They spent $1.6 million on campaign contributions and $65 million on lobbying. (I hear that duck quacking.) Big oil’s tax rate is 17.6, 3 percent less than the American family. A presidential hopeful has declared corporations are people. Does that mean big oil’s tax rate is going up or the people’s are going down? Or is it an effort to humanize big business without exhibiting a social conscience and be labeled a socialist.

Now it seemed this may stir some who think President Obama is the Antichrist to those still with flowers in their hair, that there may be that moment when something is seen for what it is without having it earmarked in a broader agenda.

Well, we got a duck and a pony along with an elephant and a donkey. Folks, the circus is in town.


Steven Anderson