Just a two days later …
Rep. Boehner backs off on ending oil subsidies
Sure didn’t take long for a “conservative” politician to back away from having said something sensible. Probably he heard from his financiers within minutes of his rational remark. While the oil companies had no comment for the press, I bet they had plenty for their guy in Congress. We trim, blend, and append two 2011 articles from (1) the UPI, Apr 27 and (2) the Huffington Post, Apr 26, by J. Bendery.
by UPI and by Jennifer Bendery
Boehner backs off on ending oil subsidies
House Speaker John Boehner backed off from saying he'd look at cutting multibillion-dollar U.S. oil firm grants after President Barack Obama lauded his remark.
Boehner's office said Obama was off base when he sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday saying he was "heartened" Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC News oil companies were partly to blame for high gasoline prices and cutting their subsidies was "certainly something we should be looking at."
"We are in a time when the federal government's short on revenues," Boehner told the network Monday. "We need to control spending, but we need to have revenues to get the government moving. [Oil companies] ought to be paying their fair share."
Obama's letter said Congress should "take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and use the dollars to invest in clean energy."
The tax breaks, many designed to encourage oil exploration, cost taxpayers more than $4 billion a year in lost revenue.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., applauded Boehner for "see[ing] the light" on the "insanity of providing subsidies to profit-soaked big oil companies."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "Immediate action means what it says, which is when Congress comes back, let's take action legislatively to eliminate those subsidies.
"It's hard to argue that, given where the price of oil is now, that there's a need for subsidies of the oil and gas industry," he said.
None of the so-called supermajor oil companies -- BP PLC, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and France's Total SA -- had any comment.
The companies announce their profits this week.
Regular gas in the United States currently averages $3.87 a gallon, AAA said. This is up 37 percent since January and more than double since Obama took office.
Seven in 10 respondents to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday said high pump prices hurt them financially, with more than four in 10 saying the hardship was "serious."
The poll of 1,001 U.S. adults, conducted April 14 to 17, had a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.
ABC News asked the 10 members of Congress who received the most campaign contributions from the oil industry in the last election if they'd be willing to cut the tax breaks.
Most did not immediately respond, ABC said. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said he'd be open to eliminating tax breaks only if tax rates were also lowered.
To see the whole article, click here .
Republican House leader has excuses
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck pushed back on the idea that the speaker and president see eye to eye on the issue.
“The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs," Buck said in a statement. "Unfortunately, what the president has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and criticized the president for not doing more to tap into the nation’s "vast energy resources."
"If someone in the administration can show me that raising taxes on American energy production will lower gas prices and create jobs, then I will gladly take a look,” the Senate minority leader said in a statement.
To see the whole article, click here
JJS: Do the Republicans make sense? While I’m not “in the administration,” take a look at this.
Ten Rebuttals to Republican Claims
First, if the richest corporations on the planet need extra money in order to operate, then we who’re not rich at all would need even more money in order to operate. Where would so much money ever come from? In truth, the super rich don’t need extra money in order to operate; if anyone does, it’d be those lacking money.
Second, while dependence on domestic oil is better than dependence on foreign oil, neither is energy independence. True independence relies on sources we can always renew, like sun, wind, wave, perhaps ethanol, etc. Favoring oil disadvantages its competitors and retards techno-progress toward alternative energy sources. Thus favoring oil, which is exhaustible, actually reduces total energy available to Americans.
Third, if you’re interested in creating jobs (that you’d never perform and as a rule indicate inefficiency), note oil is not labor-intensive but capital-intensive. Energy sources that are labor-intensive tend to be decentralized and renewable, such as putting photovoltaic panels on every roof.
Fourth, to lower energy costs -- which should include the cost of subsidies -- we’d have to break the addiction to oil and broaden supply, forcing oil to compete in the market with other fuels and power sources. Favoring oil keeps us addicted to oil and like in a one-company town, its products cost the captive market more.
Fifth, tapping energy sources can go well beyond drilling for oil. Instead, we could tap the sun, wind, waves, and our inventive genius for developing energy alternatives. Subsidizing oil makes it harder for our inventive geniuses to bring their efficient ideas to market and thereby reduce the price of energy from the supply side.
Sixth, price is set not just by supply but also by demand. You can lower the price by lowering demand. You can lower demand by ending subsidies for oil, cars, and sprawl. In more compact urban areas, trips are shorter and can be made by buses, bikes, and on foot -- all of which reduce demand.
Seventh, you can also reduce demand by plugging the leaks in buildings, making them more heat-efficient. Installing insulation and thermal pane windows is labor-intensive, in case anyone wants to perform a useful job.
Eighth, the price at the pump is not set by taxes on “rents”, that is, on the value of oil in the ground, as any economist could tell you. The public can recover all the “rental” value of any resource in situ and not change by one penny the price of an end product like gasoline.
Ninth, should the present leave less oil for the future, reduce their supply, be indifferent toward their offspring? And finally …
Tenth, showing typical indifference to pollution, unmentioned was: should humanity really be taking all the planet’s fossil fuels from the ground and be putting them into the atmosphere? Should humans be breathing so much smog? Polluting the oceans? Altering global climate? Getting off oil and using a source of power that need not be burned -- like photovoltaic -- could be the best move we could make.
And subsidizing oil doesn’t help us make it. Instead, we need to go the other way and charge oil companies for all the costs they impose. Charge them the value of oil in the ground, the public’s fair share of oil’s scarcity price, and the cost of oil pollutants in the environment. Once we make oil pay its own way, then the clean, healthy, and efficient alternatives could compete. This reform of taxes and subsidies -- called “geonomics” -- could be just what the world needs, even if it means an overthrow of the “oiligarchy”.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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