Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren at Cato think hard about a key part of the Democrats' "100 Hours" Agenda, H.R. 6, the "Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act," or "CLEAN Energy Act." They have a cheer for "a proposed $14 billion cut over ten years in the subsidies going to the petroleum industry," are skeptical about the "conservation resource fee," are for "the elimination of preferential tax treatment afforded intangible domestic drilling expenses" and give examples of even more Congress could have done in targeting various accelerated depreciations that impact the oil industry's tax bill.
The ultimate joker in the CLEAN Energy deck, though, is that:
The Democrats' somewhat dodgy anti-subsidy crusade, however, collapses into ashes with the proposed "Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve" tacked on to the bill. In short, all fiscal gains to the Treasury associated with the above will be handed back out again to corporations like GE, British Petroleum, and you-name-the-industrial-conglomerate engaged in energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses. But the same arguments against handouts to "Big Oil" can be as easily marshaled against handouts to Big or Little Fill-In-the-Blank. And with energy prices this high, there are ample incentives for investors to spend money on oil and gas production, renewable energy, energy conservation, or other energy exotica.