Let me give a hearty endorsement of my Examiner colleague Timothy Carney’s Sunday column on the Democrats’ proposal to take away “tax subsidies” from big oil companies. As Carney points out, the main feature of the Democrats’ bill, which was defeated in the Senate but which we probably have not heard the last of, was to deny five major oil companies the domestic production tax credit that is available to all manufacturers and mining companies, including oil companies. The justification? Well, big oil companies get lousy ratings in polls. So stick ‘em with a higher tax bill. Sounds a lot like gangster government to me.
This is particularly dismaying since, as I pointed out in my June 7 Examiner column, energy companies including but not limited to the big oil companies have been developing new economically viable sources of natural gas and oil production, while government subsidies to renewable sources like solar and wind energy aren’t producing significant increases in energy supply. So the policy on this bill is to take away money from the productive and give it to the unproductive.
I am consoled by the thought that scapegoating the big oil companies doesn’t seem to be as lively a political sport as it was in the 1970s. I remember interviewing Ken Cory, a Democratic Assemblyman from Orange County who ran, successfully, for California State Controller in 1974 on the slogan “the man the oil companies fear most.” As I recall, when I asked him what the job he was seeking had to do with the oil companies, he laughed and said, “Nothing.” Which is what the Democrats’ bill taking away “tax subsidies” from the five big oil companies has to do with rational energy policy.