Kaine advocates for higher gas prices and more imported oil

The Kaine campaign is going after that most hoary of Democratic bugbears, big oil companies. In a press release, Mr. Kaine’s flacks hope the Senate will see its way to repealing big oil’s “subsidies,” on the logic that doing so will somehow lead the nation toward energy independence, lower energy prices and a chicken in every pot:

“Repealing theses subsidies will help America invest in the $2.3 trillion clean energy economy that will create jobs right here in Virginia, bring us closer to energy independence, and reduce our reliance [sic] on high oil prices.”

I’ll set aside the Freudian slip about the “reliance on high oil prices” for now.

But I do wonder if Mr. Kaine and the rest of his party are taking their energy cues from Jimmy Carter. Remember the windfall profits taxes of the bad old days? Passed under Carter’s watch in 1980, the windfall profits tax had the effect of depressing domestic oil production and increasing our reliance on imported oil.

That should have been expected: raise taxes on something, and you will get less of it. But that’s exactly what Mr. Kaine proposes: single-out five oil companies for tax discrimination and they will produce less oil. Prices will rise as supply falls, pump prices will rise in concert and the only thing left will be even angrier (and poorer) motorists.

Which brings us back to the little slip in Kaine’s press release. The current administration is openly hostile to fossil fuels. They openly called for such increases until it became politically untenable. Only high prices were going to wean us off our oil habit and make the administration’s favored alternatives more price competitive. But they don’t (publicly) have the courage of those convictions today.

Instead, they are trying to divert attention away from all that and toward the evil integrated oil companies (who pump not only oil, but about $85 million in taxes and royalties into federal coffers every day).

It’s a neat trick. But if successful, it’s also the kind of trick that will result in even higher pump prices and greater imports.

Is that what Tim Kaine really wants to happen? Judging by the wording in his press release, the answer is “yes.”

  • Steve Vaughan

    So you’re pro oil subsidy? That’s not really a conservative position, is it? Are you pro farm subsidy too? Hopefully, then, you were consistent and favored the auto industry bailout.

  • Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    Go watch this video and get back to me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=UUyGNHrMe9t9c3rjYmMdbkTw&v=cBp8mSDwswk

  • My understanding is that it also is not a subsidy. It’s a deduction – offered to all companies that extract a commodity from the ground.

    This proposal from Kaine and other Democrats is the equivalent of saying that homeowners of ranch houses, because they’re popular, can’t deduct mortgage interest anymore on their income taxes – but any other type of house can.

    Picking winners and losers seems to be a Democratic pastime. It’s, frankly, un-American.

  • Just remember folks, this is slight of hand and Kaine has 2 aces up his sleeve..

  • Tim J

    JR,”Picking winners and losers seems to be a Democratic pastime” and the bodies just keep on stacking up over on their “Green Energy” programs.

  • Steve Vaughan

    LOL: JR, the deduction, by its existence, picks winners and losers. It aids the comfortable at the expense of the afflicted.
    So help me out here in discerning a cogent political philosophy from GOP peferences ..”It’s not alright to subsidize a manufacturing industry to protect American jobs, but it is okay to subsidize an extractive industry because (fill in the blank here)…”

  • If you had looked at the video I linked to, Steve, you would have seen a discussion of Section 199 of the IRS code (info here: http://www.grantthornton.com/portal/site/gtcom/menuitem.91c078ed5c0ef4ca80cd8710033841ca/?vgnextoid=f90a7c2ad6ac5010VgnVCM100000308314acRCRD), passed during the Bush years to — wait for it — create domestic manufacturing jobs. Democrats never liked that it was extended to oil companies. They’ve been trying to get rid of it ever since.

    Go look at the link and see what sorts of businesses qualify for the deduction. Then ask why Mr. Kaine and others think it is good public policy to remove the deduction for just five oil companies, and leave their competitors and other industries free to continue to take the deduction.

    If you want to have a discussion about eliminating all such deductions from the code — for all industries, big and small, old and new, profit and nonprofit — then I’m perfectly willing to have that conversation.

  • Steve Vaughan

    Norm,
    So am I. You’re right I didn’t follow the link. I’m usually at work when I post and I do have to spend a little time doing what they pay me for;-)

  • A bubble above Kaine appears.. “Keep your hands off my oil industry donors”.

  • Steve,
    Don’t be obtuse…or, at best, merely trying to pick an argument.

    You know very well that if a law is written it should apply to everyone equally.

    Now, as Norm said, if you want to talk about eliminating deductions from the tax code altogether, heck yeah. Let’s make the tax code simpler and flatter.

  • Steve Vaughan

    Simpler, great (although it’s not as complicated as anti-tax zealots like to suggest, if you can do 6th grade math, you can fill out a tax form), can’t think of any real reason it needs to be any flatter.

  • Mike Barrett

    So J.R., when you say….”You know very well that if a law is written it should apply to everyone equally” do you have the gall to suggest that corporatists don’t have a better opportunity to write the laws that benefit them the most?

    Perhaps you recall that GE spends hundreds of millions of dollars yearly on staff and lobbyists to make sure that laws are written to provide them tax breaks, deductions, off sets, grants, whatever they need to do to transfer more profit to their bottom line, and to avoid the need to pay any corporate taxes on those profits.

    Of course, that is essentially the reason for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to exist. We, the citizens, don’t have access to that kind of wealth to advertise, promote, and lobby for tax benefits.

    So please, stop with the simplistic defense of corporate welfare and the republican inspired mantra to protect your corporate brethren.

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