In the midst of record high gas prices, which threaten the President’s re-election chances more than anything (other than perhaps his decision to sell out our missile defense system to Russia for two cases of vodka and a promise not to attack Canada until we’re ready to invade from the other side), you would think that Senate Democrats wouldn’t be making a tax increase on the oil and gas industries their main focus. Higher taxes on oil and gas companies would necessarily mean higher oil and gas prices, which would, in turn, make people very, very angry. So angry, they might not vote for the Democrats who raised the taxes.
Its all common sense, obviously. But, of course, if there’s anything missing from Congress, its common sense, which could explain why, of all of the things to make it out of committee and onto the Senate floor, a tax hike on oil and gas turns out to be priority number one.
The Senate voted 92-4 Monday to begin an election-year floor debate over Democratic legislation to repeal oil-industry tax breaks, a plan that’s unlikely to ultimately pass but provides a platform for partisan warfare over gasoline prices.
The procedural vote advanced Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) plan that would raise billions of dollars by removing incentives for the largest oil-and-gas companies, and also extend several green-energy and energy-efficiency tax breaks.
Further votes are expected later this week.
Now, you might think, hey, nobody should get subsidies, because, essentially, taxpayer money is going to fund their operation, and we hate spending taxpayer money. After all, our deficits are bad enough as it is and while we might suffer a little in the short term, we’d cut spending over the long term. But that would be assuming that the Democrats are just ending the subsidies so that they set that money free to float right back into your pocketbook, and like most people who make assumptions, you’d be wrong. The Dems actually plan to take the money they “saved” by ending oil and gas subsidies and funnel it to “alternative energy” operations, using the “savings” to extend subsidies to “greener” industries, including such ravishingly successful industries as electric car manufacturing and Obama’s favorite, algae biofuels.
And then there’s the little matter of how much these subsidies are actually worth. The total tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry amount to something like $2.5 billion, and while still a lot, at least goes to an American industry that has created jobs and is adding them by the thousands for the foreseeable future. Democrats have already funneled nearly $24 billion to “alternative energy” companies that have, by and large, produced nothing of any merit except a car that explodes on impact. If you’re gonna pay someone, may as well pay the company that actually does something.
The good news is that Republicans are using this as a platform for showcasing how the Democrats deal with high gas prices – not by making any effort to actually lower them, but by using them as an excuse to further finance their cronies – so, at least we get something out of the deal, even if we can’t get our money back.