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Oil Subsidies: Are Politicians Thinking about the People or Themselves?

On Thursday, once again Obama tried to push a vote for slashing the tax subsidies in the oil and gas industry, and once again the Republicans just laughed at him as they threw it out.

Obama is under pressure in this election year to control the surging gas prices, and hoped that his vote to reduce oil subsidies would help. He stated that, “the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits — profits that go up every time folks pull into a gas station,” and “on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year in taxpayer subsidies — a subsidy they've enjoyed year after year for the last century."

The press secretary, Jay Carney, lamented that the senators “chose to side with oil and gas companies instead of the American people, who overwhelmingly support the notion that... at a time of record profits, at a time when a company like ExxonMobil is pulling down — was it $4.7 million an hour in profits — that the American taxpayer should not be subsidizing oil and gas companies.”

You would think that Obama’s plea to reduce the subsidies earned in a sector where the top five companies last year made $137 billion, whilst production was actually down, would be supported by all (except the oil companies themselves). Not during an election year, where everything turns into a petty battle of political one-up-man-ship. This year the nations interest must be put on hold, so that politicians can get one they want.

Obama is using his defeat as evidence that the Republicans support the subsidies which impose a double burden on the American people.

“You're already paying a premium at the pump right now. And on top of that, Congress thinks it's a good idea to send billions more of your tax dollars to the oil industry,” he said. “Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising.”

The Republicans were quick on the riposte, claiming that Obama is out of touch with the American people, and that his vote would amount to tax increases which could damage the oil industry.

Texas Representative Kevin Brady said “raising taxes on our energy manufacturers — and make no mistake this is what he's calling for — will only mean less American-made energy, fewer American jobs and more expensive fuel at the pump. No wonder the Obama economy continues to struggle.”

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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