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Editorial: Time for a change on oil subsidies

Published 9:09am Monday, May 16, 2011

Oil executives took a run, Thursday, at defending the billions of dollars in tax subsidies that their companies receive each year from the federal government. It was hard to believe those arguments convinced anybody. Nor should they be convincing, because providing tax relief to some of the nation’s most profitable businesses just doesn’t make sense.

The oil execs were pleading their case to a U.S. Senate committee that was considering a proposal to end some $4 billion in subsidies. The plan understandably does not please the companies which benefit, or their supporters in Congress. For most Americans, however, the subsidies make little sense. Gas prices are punishingly high. Oil company profits are through the roof. The government faces a massive — and growing — deficit.

We recognize that ending the oil companies’ tax subsidies would represent a tax increase to those businesses, and that tax increases are abhorrent to many. But the reality is that handing out fewer tax breaks to oil companies would mean either fewer tax dollars coming from everyone else or a bite out of the deficit. So the question facing Congress and the American people is whether they are better off giving their dollars to wealthy oil companies or conserving them for larger needs.

For most, the choice is obvious: Use the money where it is really needed, not where it just adds to an already giant profit.

  • Angry1

    More democrat talking points from the trib…….


    Let’s be fair about this “IF” this a good thing now remember they WILL PASS the additional cost on to the consumer as it is a cost of doing business just like all the other tax increases you WILL PAY MORE for everything. Just what we need to get this economy moving again raise the cost of everything and I mean everything.

    Has the tribune compared the profit margin of say apple computers to that nasty evil big oil?

    Hmmmmmmmm the answer might be interesting very interesting!

    Maybe some home work is in order here!!

    Let’s have some intellectual honesty about this and remove ALL tax breaks and write off’s for ALL BUSINESS that includes “investments” in industry by the .gov sorry inefficient ethanol, blow hard wind, cloudy solar you are going on a diet too it’s only “fair”

    This is done in the interest of being “FAIR to ALL” what not to like about that? making ALL business compete on a level field, everybody pays “their fair share” this will not bode well for the consumer nor the economy but at least everybody will pay the “fair share” one way or the other!

    News Flash………

    Treasury to tap pensions to help fund government
    The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government loses its ability Monday

    We have a spending problem time to deal with it like Adults and not play the class-warfare card.

  • kites0852

    Big oil. A mysterious beast that gets blamed every time oil prices sky rocket resulting in outrageous prices at the pump. But is it their doing?

    What truly causes the price of a barrel of oil to rise? Big oil? NO! It is the traders on Wall Street, still ruining the economy of this country. The “futures traders” who jack up the prices because they “think” oil will be in short supply due to any number of reasons. Flooding along the Mississippi, fighting in Libya, terrorism, etc. Take oil away from the speculators and watch this problem stop.

    Why are we allowing a small group to control prices in this country? Libya, for example, only supplies a small percentage of the oil used in this country, if their supply is disrupted, is it worth the huge increase we saw because speculators “decided” it would harm supply? NO!

    Take oil out of the speculation market and watch prices settle. It isn’t big oil to blame, though they do benefit from it. OPEC sets the price of oil, that should not be increased solely because of someone on Wall Street “has a feeling.”

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  • stardust

    And surely the price of oil is not due to millions of gas hogs, manic consumerism, or any other irrespondsible act of a glutonous public.