Check out this interview of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) -- he of apologizing to BP fame -- by ABC on Wednesday. Pressed repeatedly by Jon Karl to stake out a position on tax credits enjoyed by offshore oil companies, Barton argued that the subsidies represent equal treatment, and are required to keep the companies like Exxon-Mobil from going out of business.
"Over time if you put so many disincentives against any U.S. manufacturing or production company, or oil and gas exploration company, they'll go out of business," Barton said.
Barton, perhaps the oil and gas industry's staunchest support on Capitol Hill, says the subsidies for the industry should remain unchanged "so long as you believe that you believe in the free market capitalist system and they should be headquartered in the United States."
Well let's see, the US government gives away about $4 billion and change per year to the entire oil industry in the form of subsidies. You figure ExxonMobil's share is maybe, half a billion a year. Now, to you and me, $500,000,000 is a lot of money.
Here's the "bad at finance" part.
Exxon Mobil Corp. earned $9.25 billion in the last three months of 2010, its most profitable quarter since the record third quarter of 2008.
One oil company cleared over $9 billion in profit in one quarter last year. Half a billion a year to a company that earns $40 billion a year is kinda, well, chump change. Even if Exxon Mobil got all $4 billion plus in federal subsidies, and it lost them, the company still would have made more than twice that in just the last three months on the year. And Joe Barton wants you to think that if your taxpayer money doesn't go to Exxon, they will go out of business.
Now, I'm not The Donald or anything, but if we ended oil and gas subsidies tomorrow, I think every oil company in America would be 100% fine. Joe Barton on the other hand thinks you're too stupid to check his math. He wants you to feel sorry for Exxon Mobil and its fellow oil giants in an industry that made over $100 billion just in profit last year. He says if you don't give them $4 billion, they'll go out of business.
Joe Barton has gotten nearly $1.5 million in money from Big Oil since 1990.
And now he heads the House Energy Committee. Quite a multiplier on their investment, is it not? Meanwhile, because we're giving $4 billion a year in tax dollars to an industry that doesn't need it, we have to cut $75 million from a program to give homeless veterans a place to live because we can't afford it as a country.
Top Senate Democrats raised loud objections Thursday to a plan by Republicans in the House of Representatives that they said would eliminate 10,000 housing vouchers for homeless veterans this year, an effort to save $75 million from the 2011 federal budget.To recap, $4 billion in tax money to energy companies earning tens of billions a year in profit, vital national interest. Not wasteful at all. Putting Afghanistan and Iraq veterans out on the street because we can't afford to help them as a result? We can't afford to help them, sorry. Got to cut waste.
Republicans are just wonderful human beings.