Corporate Welfare

The GOP vs. Big Oil?

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Have Congressional Democrats convinced Republicans to give up on oil subsidies? Possibly! From The Hill:

With gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, Democrats want to exploit what they see as a small crack in Republican ranks on the issue of oil industry subsidies.

Last week, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested he is open to eliminating some oil industry tax breaks. But his office quickly walked back the comments. And House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he supports repealing the subsidies, signaling a split among top Republicans on the issue.

Though the measures to repeal the tax breaks stand little chance of passage in the House, the votes would put Republicans "in a bind" as the public shows "increasing anger" about oil and gas prices and oil industry profits, a House Democratic aide said.

Not surprisingly, I think Rep. Ryan has the better position on the policy merits. His stance is that special treatment for oil companies should go, but so should special treatment for other industries as well. "We're talking about reforming the safety net, the welfare system; we also want to get rid of corporate welfare. And corporate welfare goes to agribusiness companies, energy companies, financial services companies, so we propose to repeal all that," he reportedly said last week in a response to a constituent question about subsidies for the oil industry. In broad strokes, that's been Ryan's position for a while. "As long as big business was defending free markets, we didn't have a problem," he told me back in 2009. But he saw that changing, with industry looking to regulation and subsidies for success. 

I think he's basically right. There are plenty of good reasons to want to end corporate favoritism in the tax code, and not just for oil companies either: Congress uses complicated, narrowly-targeted tax breaks to pick winners in the marketplace. That forces companies to operate in a system that's based on competing for government favors, not actual customers, and that's at least some part of why, say, our energy market is such a mess.

Of course, betting your future on continued political favoritism has its dangers. And as we're now seeing, the same system that allows Congress to pick winners also allows them to pick losers whenever they think it's politically convenient. In the end, that's what this is: Big oil companies are no longer favored politically, and rising gas prices have turned some of the public against them. So a lot of members of Congress, Democrats in particular, want to make a big show of punishing the oil industry in public.

That's what makes the whole debate so frustrating. The current squabble over oil subsidies isn't really about "good policy"; the Democratic aide quoted in The Hill's story basically admits as much when he says it's about putting Republicans "in a bind." Instead, it's about political maneuvering: Democrats want to put Republicans on the spot, and force them to either vote to end the tax breaks or stand by an industry that the GOP has traditionally been quite friendly with. If this were really about zeroing out corporate welfare, we'd see movement on other fronts as well. But it's not, and that's why the debate is limited tax breaks for big oil, and not about other, more popular forms of corporate welfare, like ethanol and farm subsidies.

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  1. As long as big business was defending free markets, we didn’t have a problem.

    Big Business has never defended the free markets. Big Business and Big Government are joined at the hip. As long as Uncle Sam has the power to pick the winners and losers in an industry, the rent-seekers and corporate welfare queens will continue to exist.

    1. What I’d like to know is where the rip in the fabric in the space-time continuum is, that created the perception that high housing prices are good, but high oil prices are bad.

      Oh right, Realtors? and the home construction industry are among the sainted few.

      1. It goes way beyond Realtors and contractors. Banks, brokers, couples financing vacations with equity loans, etc…

        That said, I feel like the turd in the punchbowl every time I protest rentseeking by the homebuilders industry group.

        1. Oh, I know there are many more people in that industry than what I named. I suspect the oil industry employs probably just as many people.

          If only we could tap the zero-point cognitive dissonance Washington runs on, our energy needs would be met many time over.

          1. I’m in the mortgage business (boo, hiss, etc) with a bank, and even I find myself getting caught up in the rent seeking games with regards to credit unions. They do exactly what we do, but have far less stringent regs. I want to argue that if less regs are good for them, then they should be good for us, but it’s much easier to say increase their oversight…

            Bah.

      2. Yeah and high benefit levels for unionized government employees, too.

        The libs think that is simply marvelous.

  2. Do the democrats realize that getting rid of the subsidies will actually make the price at the pump for consumers go up?

    1. why would that be considering big oil’s historical profits?

      1. because the subsidies are for production. Projects that are on the margin of economic feasability will no longer take place if the subsidy is removed.

        They shouldn’t if they require a subsidy – but that doesn’t change the fact that removing the subsidy will reduce supply and therefore increase prices on the margin.

        1. its no different than subsidizing green energy – we get more of it because of the subsidy.

      2. You are one of the stupidest fuckers to come troll here. Oil runs on some of the thinnest margins of any big business. The profits are huge because the volume is one of the biggest businesses on earth. If you cut the subsidies, price at the pump will go up be a similar amount.

        1. leftist dont undertand enough about econmoics to realize that in most indutries profits are a very small percentage of sales. They stupidly think corporations have the ability to extract huge profits.

          I had a left leaning friend of mine tell me of his supprised discovery a while back that insurance company profits are only 2-3% of sales. I had already known that.

          1. ^^This

            ExxonMobil’s 1Q profit works out to just 2 cents per gallon. How much do the Feds and your State make on a gallon of gas?

            1. From memory, the local retailer makes more than ExxonMobile, and the both the feds and the state make more than the local retailer.

            2. Including or excluding the refinery profits?

              1. That’s excluding the refining profits.

            3. Same deal with cigarettes. Our strange uncle makes FAR more money of of cigarettes than Big Tobacky.

              Of course lefties conveniently ignore that fact.

        2. nope – the retail price reflects trading not subsidies. try harder sherlock

          1. so clearly all those green energy subsidies arent lowering the market price of windpower right? We can rid of those and it will have effect on the industry?

            Do you have any clue of what you are talking about?

          2. Try reading an Exxon income statement, tell me the gross margin percentage, and get back to me.

            1. 3 cents per gallon right now for finished gasoline.

            2. It’s easier to go to Yahoo and find ExxonMobil’s numbers there.

              Their gross margin (last year) was 13.14%.

              But it seems odd to me you want the gross margin and not the net…

          3. If trading has such an impact on increasing pump prices, than increasing supply should have an even greater impact on lowering prices.

            Time to open up ANWAR.

          4. @the real OO: I am blacklisting your sorry ass as well

            1. im all broken up

            2. How the fuck can you do that? I’d fucking love to ignore a troll or two.

              1. Ask sloopyinca. You get chrome and then download some sort of additional program (I think from Reason). It’s heaven and Disneyland all in one!!!

        3. Sounds like the natural market desperately wants to put oil out of business.

          1. Just when you think OO has said the stupidest thing ever.

    2. doubtful, as most of the rise in costs are due to the expectation of future shortfalls rather than current costs. Else you wouldn’t see such high profits.

    3. Yes they do, and they’ll blame it on “corporate greed”.

      You see, the cost of operating without subsidies should be taken out of profits, not added to the price.

      Adding costs to the price instead of lowering their obscene profits confirms that they’re greedy and evil, and in need of more intrusive regulatory oversight.

      This will cause prices to rise further, again confirming that Big Oil is evil.

      The end goal of course being to nationalize the industry, putting all those profits into the hands of The People, not some greedy core-pour-ray-shun.

      1. Yes they do, and they’ll blame it on “corporate greed

        That or the Republicans.

        1. I thought they were in league to take over the world and hand it to the super-corporation.

          Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

          Bow to your corporate masters!

          We have won worldwide Monopoly, we have acquired all the goods, you are our slave!

          Did I say bow?

          Kneel! Kneel to your corporate masters!

    4. I keep looking in to this but I still haven’t found a clear answer:

      Do ethanol subsidies raise or lower the price of gas at the pump?

      It’s well known that we give several billions a year to the ethanol lobby to maintain production, and the resulting effects on the world food markets have been devastating, but from what I’ve read the funding for the ethanol subsidies is coming from the Federal Gas Tax, or at least a part of it. So by logical standards, you remove the ethanol subsidies and you can lower the Federal Gas Taxes, thus lowering the price of gas at the pump.

      It seems logical, but connecting the dots has been more difficult to do than I realized. The byzantine nature of subsidies and their funding is a clear example of everything that’s wrong with our current federal budgeting procedures.

      1. Hahahahahaha! Lower the gas tax because you’re not paying subsidies out of that? That’s *found money* mister! “We” can use that for more projects with Senator’s names on them! Give it back to the plebes? What are you smoking?!?!?!

        1. Yeah, I know. Crazy talk and all that.

          Still, I want to hear someone ask our Dear Leader why he won’t end ethanol subsidies when they clearly are harmful on several levels, and possibly contributing to higher gas prices as well.

        2. I would prefer that the money go toward reducing the deficit or the tax was removed, but I couldn’t give a shit if the money is spent on ethanol or some other retarded piece of corporate welfare. It makes zero difference to me if the beneficiary of that tax is Con-Agra or the memorial Jesse Helms antique train museum.

          1. Why do you hate old trains, Hazel?

      2. one more complicating factor – mandates on the percentage of gas that must be ethanol. There is no market demand for ethanol tainted gas, it is only regulation that drives its purchase.

      3. >Do ethanol subsidies raise or lower the price of gas at the pump?

        In real terms (and ignoring the cost of paying for the subsidy), subsidies result in higher prices received by suppliers, and lower prices paid by consumers.

        In nominal terms (e.g., price at the pump), the effect of the subsidy depends on which side receives it. If the consumer is subsidized, then the nominal price will be that received by the supplier. If the supplier is subsidized, then the nominal price will be that paid by the consumer.

        Since the tax-break/subsidy goes to the supplier, once removed the nominal price of gas will rise.

        1. I get this argument and I understand what it means, but I still have a problem with this rebuttal-

          The subsidy for ethanol is paid via the gas tax that is currently adding around $.50 per gallon of gas to price of gas. If this tax was removed, and the requirement for ethanol in gas itself was removed, wouldn’t this mean the gas would $.50 cheaper a gallon? The costs of adding or blending fuels together has to add a fixed cost in to the gas price itself, and if this was removed wouldn’t that lower the cost of getting the gas from refinement to pump?

          1. The ethanol subsidy is only a portion of the gas tax, not all of it. So you might shave a couple cents off by dropping the subsidies and reducing the tax rate commensurately. But that won’t happen. If you drop the ethanol subsidy, the tax will remain the same because the taxes all go into some bullshit ‘fund’ and the subsidies are paid from the fund. So the fund will simply find a different collection of stupid shit to spend money on, and we’ll still get screwed.

          2. That assumes the producer passes the savings to the consumer.

            Of course, if production became cheaper, there would be something in the mid east, Nigeria, Antarctica that caused supplies to shorten and the price doesn’t drop.

    5. SO?

      We’re paying for it through taxes, or at the pump. What difference does it make?

      I’d rather have my price signals come to me directly, at the pump, where I can control my spending. Not through some byzantine bureaucratic system where my only choice is A or B every four years.

      1. Your political masters know that you will make the wrong choice, Hazel. At least, the wrong choice according to their criteria.

        Your quadrennial choice is a farce: it’s between Budweiser and Miller Lite — ie, between two shitty American varieties of swill that survive only due to continuous and extensive marketing.

    6. Can any Democrat name what Big Oil subsidies actually exist and how large they are?

      Didn’t think so.

      On the other hand, using 2010 ExxonMobil data for example, Big Oil actually pays a whole lot of money in taxes. From the the Form 10-K that they filed with the SEC:

      Income Taxes $21,561 million
      Sales-based Taxes $28,547 million
      Other Taxes $36,118 million

      Total Taxes $86,226 million
      (22.5% of revenue)

      Net Income $30,460 million
      (7.9% of revenue)

      Dividends $8,498 million
      (2.2% of revenue)

      So, as a percentage of revenue, government gets ten times as much as shareholders and it’s still not enough.

  3. What are the tax breaks they are always so interested in ending? I’ve never really figured out what this big “subsidy” is?

    1. tax break = subsidy

      You see, all of their profits rightfully belong to The People.
      So any profits that they are allowed to keep is in fact a gift.

      1. It’s even worse than that. I’ve heard some dimwits argue that:

        tax deduction = subsidy.

        That is, that deducting ordinary and necessary expense required to realize revenue in the course of business constitutes a subsidy. Stuff, you know, like the cost of drilling an oil well. Some bozos actually believe that the oil companies should count all of the revenue associated with the oil produced from a well and that any reduction for associated expenses is a subsidy.

    2. has to do with writing off reservoir depletion like other businesses write off equipment depreciation. Basically it makes wells near the end of their life more valuable and can mean the difference between operating profit or loss on small wells.

      Atleast thats one of the “subsidies” I’ve heard of. There are probably others, but I don’t know what they are.

      1. I dont see how that is a subsidy. There is two ways to treat it, either the mineral rights were a Cost of Raw Materials and can be written off as a business expense as used, or it was a part of the land cost and is depreciating and can be written off that way.

        Seems to be a legitimate business expense unless Im missing something.

        1. you’re missing the political argument that money is being given back to the oil industry, which is BAD!! The government doesn’t just hand money to independents to go drill, but when they do, the government will allow them to get back some of their costs via this “tax break”.

        2. You’re missing the joys of tax complexity.

    3. one of them is not a subsidy – its a foreign tax credit for income and taxes paid abroad. This is just like when you make money in multiple state you don’t get double taxed.

      The actual subsides are the “domestic production credit”, but this goes to all domestic manufacturing and resource extractions, not just oil.

      And also a credit for oil reserve depletion that differs from normal accounting. But this phases out quickly with earnings to it does really subsidize big companies – it was designed to subsidize small independent drillers. It should still be removed, but its largely not going to “Big Oil.”

      1. i imagine the biggest one is for the foreign tax credit, but that’ll be interesting if they simply say “sure, we’ll double tax big oil…because…they’re big oil”

        the subsidy for domestic production i hadn’t heard of, but I imagine it is pretty much the same effect as removing the depletion credit. Big oil companies will shrug, independents will collapse.

        1. i really am wondering if the foreign tax credit is part of the $4 billion number. I know some democrats have been cuaght including it before.

    4. Big Oil subsidies are $4 billion per year – which spread over the huge US oil industry would not effect pump prices much at all.

      1. I would agree to this. Much more likely it would cause a boost in energy prices as gas wells are barely profitable as is. But energy prices are so low no one would care.

      2. Depends on what you call “subsidies”. By “direct payments”, yeah, could be $4 billion. Some calculate subsidies to be over $150 billion.

        1. I’m usually all for Cato studies, but that number seems a stretch. Sure, we safeguard shipping and clear shipping lanes, but it’s a stretch to call that a subsidy. A cop on the beat is a benefit to the businesses in his area, but he’s not really a subsidy.

          And what are these “direct payments”? I think there’s a lot of confusion about the difference between tax credits and subsidies, the latter of which I think of as actual money going from the government to the subsidized.

          1. That’s just semantics… a cop on the beat is a subsidy by any meaningful definition. It’s a cost the business doesn’t have to bear that it would otherwise.

            1. That’s just semantics… a cop on the beat is a subsidy by any meaningful definition.

              I disagree. I pay for the cops that (ostensibly) protect my home. Do my neighbors decry my getting a subsidy when I call 911?

              1. I don’t think anyone should bitch about subsidies that make sense, like subsidizing law and order.

                1. It’s only a subsidy when we don’t pay for it.

                2. like subsidizing law and order.

                  Tony picks perhaps the worse example ever.

                  Everyone has equal access to Law and order.

                  Everyone does not have equal access to energy subsidies.

                  By definition equal access cannot be a subsidy.

                  1. Everyone has equal access to the allegedly lower energy costs the subsidies result in.

                  2. Everyone has equal access to Law and order?

                    Perhaps the television program, but in real life if you can’t afford a lawyer, you’re lost. Period. Guilty for being poor.

          2. I’m usually all for Cato studies, but that number seems a stretch.

            I agree, I was just posting that as food for thought. My main point is that it’s probably somewhere between $4b and $150b.

          3. A tax credit may as well be a subsidy if it is refundable.

            If it is not refundable, it depends on whether or not you pay any taxes that year. If you pay enough taxes for the credit to count against them — it’s a subsidy.

            A tax DEDUCTION on the other hand is NOT a subsidy.

      3. Small Oil “gets” $4 billion.

        Big Government spends $4 trillion.

    5. Read this post by Mark J Perry and the comments to get an idea of what the “subsidies” are.

  4. OT: Obama not to release bin Laden photo because it might garner the attention of radical islam.

    Yo, we already got their attention…

    President Barack Obama said Wednesday he’s decided not to release death photos of terrorist Osama bin Laden because their graphic nature could incite violence and create national security risks for the United States.

    1. You mean like the intense blowback from releasing those Zarqawi pics?

  5. Big oil doesn’t care if oil subs are lost. Its small oil (independents) that will howl in pain when they see their margins disappear.

  6. I have read that the oil subsidies amount to about 4 billion a year. In 2009 there was about 125 billion gallons of gas consumed in the U.S. Therefore they are talking about something that amounts to 3 cents per gallon. And that doesn’t account for the other products refined from the barrel of oil. This is a canard and instead of Ryan explaining he is opposed to other subsidies, submit a bill that gets rid of the subsidies for oil companies, ethanol, wind, solar, nuclear and all others. With a little information and understanding about math, most political arguments about energy subsidies fall by the wayside

    1. eh, its symbolic, but it wedges open the issue that REP’s are in bed with industry and gives them more leverage to crack open the harder nuts in the system. Like I said, big oil won’t care. Small oil will wail in agony.

    2. Therefore they are talking about something that amounts to 3 cents per gallon.

      For which we pay $0.481 per gallon in taxes…

      Gasoline is far more profitable for government than oil companies.

  7. Yes, the price at the pump would go up, but the price paid would not change.

    I guess for poor people(people who pay few taxes) the price paid would increase.

  8. Can they package this in a bill ending all energy subsidies?

    Oil, ethanol, solar, nuclear, algae, whatever. End all the energy subsidies.

    Heck, just eliminate the DoEn at the same time.

    1. I see the concept is covered above. I guess I could RTFA before commenting but that would be silly.

      1. would you read the program before going to a tractor pull?

        1. Hit & Run: it’s the tractor pull of online political discussions!

          1. lord googoo likes this

  9. Isn’t Obama’s big plan is to re-direct the subsidies to “green” industries. Typical, idiot politician. Dude, we don’t want the money going to ANY industries! Stop funding rich people with our money.

  10. Over under on how many comments before this morphs into a discussion on externalities and the real costs of energy???????????

    1. Second over under on how long it takes for someone to say something of robbing people of less doesn’t count as a subsidy.

      1. Already happened further up thread. This is something that frustrates me; a lot of people will come on here and howl about subsidies, then howl about taking them away since it’s “their” money to begin with.

        Not sure how you can be so positive that every cent of tax break given to any company is only coming from “their” rightful money, and that it’s not actually being “stolen” from “me” via “taxes” to “give” to “them” (overuse of dramatic quotes was done on purpose). No word on if they would even have all this money if consumers were not willing to buy their product because it’s being made artificially cheap due to the subsidy to begin with.

        So, all the cards on the table: is the Official Libertarian Position that subsidies are great, because it involves lowering taxes on favored industries (allowing “them” to keep more of “their” money)? Or are they bad, because they typically favor large, entrenched interests at the expense of smaller firms, go to the politically connected, and distort the market?

        1. But you are starting from the point that all subsidies involve tax breaks. Aren’t many subsidies direct payments? Ag subsidies come by mind.

  11. http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/…..tml?hpt=T1

    In case you haven’t heard, the photo of OBL’s corpse will not be released because “that’s not who we are.”

    1. I don’t care to see the pictures, doesn’t have an impact on my life in the least if they’re released or not.
      But-
      In all honesty, what would releasing it really accomplish? The consipracy theorists are always going to doubt it (had a recent example of this).

      1. I never thought of it as debunking conspiracy theorist. I thought of it more as transparency of government. I at least want to hear an explanation for killing bin Laden.

        1. Ah, I can see that point of view.

          I guess i probably agree with them that releasing the pictures and bringing Osama back alive would have probably been more trouble than they’re worth. Although I do have to wonder how/if the future would be different with having osama as a captured terrorist.

          1. I don’t know. But does seem like one more secret the government is keeping from us…and that only plays into the hands of the conspiracy theorists.

          2. Isn’t capturing the vast majority of criminals “more trouble than its worth”. I vote for a Judge Dredd style system with less Stalone.

            1. I second this but with much more stalone.

        2. “explanation for killing bin Laden”

          The best I’ve heard is that DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.

      2. In all honesty, what would releasing it really accomplish? The consipracy theorists are always going to doubt it (had a recent example of this).

        It might satisfy the non-conspiracy theorists, who are becoming conspiracy theorists because of the way the administration is handling this.

        Obama: We got him!

        Us: Cool, can we see some evidence?

        Obama: Nope!

        Us: Why not?

        Obama: Offending radical islam, don’t want to fire that group up.

        Us: They’re already fired up. Where’s the body?

        Obama: Uhm, don’t have it!

        Us: You don’t have the body? My understanding is you didn’t bomb the compound because you wanted to be sure you got him. Now you’re saying you don’t have the body?

        Obama: Nope!

        Us: Ok, then what happened to it?

        Obama: Buried at sea. Quickly.

        Us: Do you have video or anything which shows the body and the burial at sea?

        Obama: Your shoe’s untied! Look! Flying monkeys! *makes quick exit*

        1. “Tell me this isn’t a government operation.” – Gene Krantz

        2. I would like to point out that UBL is dead and Old Mexican has disappeared. Odd.

        3. I also have to wonder why Obama is being such an idiot after such a big win.

          Why is he deliberately trying to piss off the very voters he’s just won over?

          1. He doesn’t like tractor pulls?

    2. Seriously?

      This is one case where people have a reasonable reason to want to know for sure that he is actually dead.

      1. What are you, some kind of tin-foil hat birther nutter?

        I asked yesterday, is it incompetence or evil that the administration is pulling this stunt? I can’t tell.

        1. I think maybe they are out of touch with the mood of the general public.

          For most people, the thing with OBL is personal. Anyone who is reasonably patriotic regarded 9/11 as an attack on the country, and thus themselves. And since it’s personal, then want to see the body.

          I suspect the administration doesn’t share this feeling, and is regarding it as some sort of icky but necessary tacks and is treating it as impersonally as possible. They just don’t get the visceral desire to KNOW, for damn sure, that Osama bin Laden is really dead.

          Either that, or they don’t want people to experience the finality of it. Maybe to draw out the unsettling feeling that it’s not REALLY over.

          1. They could just honestly think that it is tasteless and the potential costs far outweight the benefits. I know why you would be hesitant to belive either of those since they would likely be firsts for our government.

            Also check out this gem from Palin:
            Show photo as warning to others seeking America’s destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama;it’s part of the mission”

            1. I don’t see it as a warning to others issue.

              Remember Uday and Qusay?
              Apparantly the reasons they kept the bodies was partly to show them to Shiite Iraqi leaders so they could tell their people that Uday was, for sure, really and truly dead.
              Why would they want to do that? Maybe because Uday has killed and tortured enough people that his victims wanted closure. They wanted confirmed proof that he was dead so they could move on.

              Does Osama bin Laden not fit in the same category? Has he not killed enough people that people affected by his actions have some right to KNOW, first hand, that he’s dead?

              At least, maybe let families of 9/11 victims have access to the photos. After all, their loved ones are dead, maybe seeing proof that bin Laden has been killed would give them some closure.

              So, maybe the administration doesn’t want closure, because then people would want the War on Terror to wind down?

  12. I don’t care for calling tax breaks subsidies myself. However, there might be a fairness issue in giving one industry lower taxes than another, depends on the details.

    1. If it moves, tax it.
      If it keeps moving, regulate it.
      If it stops moving, subsidize it.

  13. Of course it isn’t an established fact that any particular tax deduction or credit for any given company or individual constitutes a “subsidy” to begin with.

    The ONLY thing that would prove that any company or individual is being subsidized by any particular level of government would be to calculate whether the absolute dollar amount of taxes paid by that individual or company is smaller than the absolute dollar value of the company’s or individual’s pro rata share of the cost of the specific government activities that can be definitively proven to be providing that specific company or individual with a demonstrable, specific direct benefit calcuated on a user fee basis.

    Any company or individual coming out on the plus side of such a calculation is subsidizing someone else regardless of what tax “breaks” they are getting.

    1. If our taxes were based on a fee-for-use model then you would be on to something.

      1. It is irrelevant whether taxes are “based” on a user fee model or not.

        A user fee calculation compared to actual taxes paid is the only way to see who is and isn’t really getting a subsidy.

  14. I heard that Kent Conrad introduced a plan to cut the debt by a trillion dollars. The plan calls for an overall lowering of tax rates but the elimination of many deductions, overall it should collect more revenue. How would libertarians feel about this plan?

    1. Conrad said that his budget closely reflects the one voted on -? and rejected by -? the president’s fiscal commission. That spending plan, primarily put together by former Sens. Alan Simpson (R-Wy.) and Erskine Bowles (D-N.C.), failed to garner the needed 14 of 18 votes to move forward to a congressional vote. It would have cut roughly $4 trillion from projected deficits over a 10 year period, a number that Conrad said his plan equals.

      “It borrows some of the ideas of the fiscal commission on revenue,” Conrad added, saying that tax rates would be lowered. But his plan would “broaden the base” of taxpayers, he said. It would do that by eliminating certain corporate tax loopholes and special treatment for particular industries and targeting offshore tax havens.

      “You would not need to raise rates. You could actually lower rates along the lines of what the commission does,” Conrad said.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..57213.html

      1. I don’t get why the interested lobbies are supposed to be pleased with a decrease in nominal rates when the end result is them paying more. Is it just so that they don’t have to say they raised tax rates?

        1. I don’t get why the interested lobbies are supposed to be pleased with a decrease in nominal rates when the end result is them paying more.

          Tax revenues went up after Bush’s tax cuts went into effect dip shit.

          The nominal rates are not going up. The gross amount is going up. The nominal rates are going down.

          1. I believe that’s what I said. What do Bush’s tax cuts have to do with anything? Just had to slip in that statement of fact in order to make the point that the cuts caused a revenue increase, which is simply a lie?

    2. “My false dilemma is right here for the taking!”

      1. +1

    3. If it were real, yeah, I’d be for it.

      If my tax burden was reduced consderably, I’d give up my interest writeoffs in a snap. I might even give up my interest writeoffs if my tax burden was only moderately reduced, if I felt that the government and it’s method of taxation was headed in a more moral direction. Ie, yes, I’d take one for the team.

    4. If is leads to a set tax rate for businesses, with no deductions, credits, etc, then I’m all for it.

      But what would all the lobbyists do?

      1. Digging holes and then filling them back up would give them something to do.

        1. With spoons.

          We needs jobs, ya know.

        2. With lobbyists.

    5. How would libertarians feel about this plan?

      Depends on the details. But if it is the way you describe it I think you have already answered your own question.

      Government should not pick winners and losers…government using the tax code to do so does not make it somehow OK.

  15. If the government wants to lower the price of gas, they can cut the federal gas tax by about 25% – since that is about the percentage of highway trust fund money that is siphoned off to pay for mass transit boondoggles, greenways, bikepaths and other assorted crap that has nothing to do with providing any actual road services to the drivers who are paying the tax.

    The federal and state government taxes are a far bigger percentage of the price of a gallon of gas than is oil company profits.

  16. “As long as big business was defending free markets, we didn’t have a problem.”

    Excuse me, but when was that? The oil depletion allowance goes back to 1913! (Nice article here http://www.spartacus.schoolnet…..letion.htm)

    Oil companies have used state and national government authority to ensure “stable prices” for close to 100 years. When Ron Bailey and others moan about “government meddling,” what’s usually happening is not Congress trying to “pick winners” but rather private corporations anointing themselves winners.

    1. The old question – who’s guilty, the prostitute or the john?

      1. Neither?

        I mean not unless you apply some arbitrary law decided by some dude who has no defined interest other than using the state to tell others how naughty they are in his opinion.

    2. Oil companies have used state and national government authority to ensure “stable prices” for close to 100 years. When Ron Bailey and others moan about “government meddling,” what’s usually happening is not Congress trying to “pick winners” but rather private corporations anointing themselves winners.

      A willing and receptive Congress. I see you suffer from the classic progressive blindspot: Corporations don’t anoint themselves anything. They petition the government, and then Congress picks the winners of those petitions. The government is picking winners and losers.

      This is no different that scandals where someone paid off a government official in some graft scheme, and we spend all of our time hounding the guy who paid off the official, while completely ignoring the official that took the graft, and acted on it.

      I expect people to try to bend the government to their will. What I don’t expect is the government to be so willing and receptive to it.

      1. But those poor politicians, they just can’t resist all that stuff! It’s like putting a Walmart in DC!

        1. Must be especially hard on the members of the CBC.

      2. Corporations, like labor unions, and other groups, don’t “petition” Congress. They offer campaign contributions and other favors in return for favorable legislation. They want special treatment and they move heaven and earth to get it. Perhaps you suffer from the classic libertarian blindspot: corporate rent-seeking is blamed on the government which grants it rather than the special interests which demand it. Face it, dude. Congress is the willing tool of Wall Street’s rule!

        1. Interesting, you’re confirming and denying your own argument in one small post.

          Face it, dude. Congress is the willing tool of Wall Street’s rule!

          We’re kind of back in agreement. So, I ask again, what’s the matter with Congress?

        2. Or, is your argument that instead of going after the central agency that has the legislative and police powers at its command, we should go after every individual in the world who ever petitions… erh, I mean makes a contribution to congress with the implicit/explicit demand that thus and so be legislatively put into force?

          Reminds me of an old episode of Black Adder

          Wise Woman: Step no further, for already I see thy bloody purpose. Thou plotest, Blackadder! Thou would be king, and drown Middlesex in a butt of wine! [cackles madly]
          Blackadder: No, it’s much worse than that. I’m in love with my manservant!
          Wise Woman: [nonchalant] Well, I’d sleep with him if I were you.
          Blackadder: What!?
          Wise Woman: When I fancy people, I sleep with them. I have to drug them first, being so old and warty.
          Blackadder: But what of my position, my livelihood!?
          Wise Woman: Very well, then there are three solutions, three cures for thy ailment. The first is simple: Kill Bob!
          Blackadder: Never!
          Wise Woman: Then try the second: kill yourself!
          Blackadder: And the third?
          Wise Woman: The third is to ensure that no one else ever knows.
          Blackadder: Ah, that sounds more like it! How?
          Wise Woman: KILL EVERYBODY IN THE WHOLE WORLD! [cackles madly]
          Blackadder: [disturbed and confounded] Uh-huh.

  17. I don’t see this going anywhere in the House. Ryan I think is a person of principle (stupid as those principles are–how embarrassing for Wisconsin that they’re represented by an Ayn Rand cultist). But mostly the GOP members are the “men” of the industries. Boner handed out tobacco lobby checks on the House floor. They would not exist except as puppets for the various GOP-allied industries, including big oil. And I’m certain the Democrats won’t capitalize on the fact that it displays utter hypocrisy on the part of the GOP and their rhetorical small government crusade. You cannot shame people who have no shame.

    1. “And I’m certain the Democrats won’t capitalize on the fact that it displays utter hypocrisy on the part of the GOP and their rhetorical small government crusade.”

      Mostly, the Democrats won’t capitalize on it because they are guilty of it as well.

    2. Boner handed out tobacco lobby checks on the House floor.

      Obama handed out Obamacare exemptions in the Oval office.

      I fail to see the difference. The fact that you do see a difference only cements in that you are a hack

      1. The difference is one of scale. Of course Dems aren’t pure on this. But the GOP has morphed into a machine whose sole purpose is funneling government money to favored industries.

        1. The difference is one of scale. Of course Dems aren’t pure on this. But the GOP has morphed into a machine whose sole purpose is funneling government money to favored industries.

          I know you were pissing yourself laughing when you posted that, huh?

        2. *raises hand*

          Ooohhhh oooohhh me me me!

        3. The difference is one of scale. Of course Dems aren’t pure on this. But the GOP has morphed into a machine whose sole purpose is funneling government money to favored industries.

          Incorrect, this is the modus operandi of the Democratic party machine. Democrats are the party of corporate welfare.

          Calling it “stimulus” and “rescue plan” doesn’t make it any less corporate welfare. Thanks for playing though.

        4. But the GOP has morphed into a machine whose sole purpose is funneling government money to favored industries.

          You’re still wasting perfectly good oxygen?

          1. Man calling the GOP the fascist machine it is really brings them out here at the duopoly hating libertarian place.

            1. No, a shrill, partisan douchebag, who can’t be bothered to think his way out of the TEAM BLUE paper bag he’s put himself into, really brings out the sneers.

              Worse for you is that you’re no better than the TEAM RED slackjaws.

              1. I am all too aware of the flaws of team blue. But because I don’t have my head up my ass like most people here, I’m aware that I only get two choices, and one is worse than the other. It’s not complicated.

            2. Learn to read.

  18. “We’re talking about reforming the safety net, the welfare system; we also want to get rid of corporate welfare. And corporate welfare goes to agribusiness companies, energy companies, financial services companies, so we propose to repeal all that,”

    But companies that donate and vote for Democrats need that money!!!

    Ron Paul hates poor people and is a crazy gold bug!!!

    1. I’ll tell you my position. I am not against all subsidies everywhere. That’s ludicrous. It’s government’s job to subsidize certain products and services if there exists a legitimate democratic demand for them and the market doesn’t provide them on its own. The market won’t provide a national military, so government creates one. It costs money, and a lot of that goes to private industries.

      This is why I have no problem with subsidies for renewable energy. We have a legitimate democratic demand for renewable energy over the nonrenewable, polluting status quo. We don’t need to consult the market’s crystal ball to figure that out.

      1. So, if I understand this, “democratic demand” is people demanding that somebody else pay for what they want, yes?

        1. We all exist within the same system. We all pay, we all benefit.

          1. Another one of the MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY claims you’ve made that you are completely incapable of proving.

            1. Hey now, when that Goldman Sachs exec gets his $300,000 tax-fed bonus, he pays the help with some of that. He may even generously tip the doorman.

              What do you have against domestic servants?

          2. We all exist within the same system. Approximately 50% pay, politicians and the well-connected benefit.

            FIFY

            1. Oh look another dishonest libertarian hack who thinks/pretends to think that the income tax is the only tax.

              1. Well, you want to make the tax code more “progressive”. So it’s not like you realy want “all of us” to share in the cost.

                You’d much prefer only making a certain hated class of wealthy people, preferably just the ones who donate to Republicans, pay.

                1. I prefer thinking in broader terms of paying and benefiting. It’s not all just dollars in and out. I believe it is beyond absurd to argue that a destitute person is “benefiting” more than a wealthy person because he doesn’t have to pay income taxes and they do. That’s a deliberately narrow view of things in that it completely ignores the fact that the person is destitute.

                  1. I prefer thinking in broader terms of paying and benefiting.

                    I’m sure such picayune details as who actually pays the taxes that go to fund a subsidy, and who actually cashes the subsidy checks, are beneath your notice.

                2. You’d much prefer only making a certain hated class of wealthy people, preferably just the ones who donate to Republicans, pay.

                  Except that class is a chimera. The wealthy class donate heavily to Democrats. If I recall Michael Moore, Republicans are the guy who lives in a trailer and fixes your car.

                  Either that or all those people who fly to Cannes every year are Republicans.

              2. You might want to take a look at this:

                http://money.msn.com/tax-tips/…..124d49889b

                1. Welcome to a massive recession and its aftermath.

                  1. Welcome to the foreseeable future. Let’s all celebrate by spending money we don’t have on pet projects that appeal to specific constituent parties.

                    1. What does that chart have to do with corporate subsidies and pet projects?

                  2. Tony|5.4.11 @ 5:01PM|#

                    Welcome to a massive recession and its aftermath.

                    How can you possibly say that about Obama’s coming second summer of recovery!?!?

          3. Um, actually, it’s more like “the rich pay, and people who want to feel morally clean about the energy consumption benefit”.

      2. “It’s government’s job to subsidize certain products and services if there exists a legitimate democratic demand for them ”

        Cite the enumerated power in the Constitution that says that.

        1. Cite the reason either of us should give a shit.

          1. Cite the reason either of us should give a shit.

            I do. I mean, I did before I was soaked in ‘commerce clause’ urine.

            1. You people don’t care about the constitution, you care about a fantasy constitution that may have existed once a long time ago, i.e., your policy preferences with a constitutional imprimatur you didn’t earn.

        2. Cite the enumerated power in the Constitution that says that.

          Hell no need for that. government has already picked a winner that ended up being a regressive loser:

          Ethanol.

          The record of government choosing winners and losers in the energy markets has been abysmal.

          1. maybe if policy makers spoke more with academics and researchers than they did sleeping with lobbyists that clusterfu** could have been avoided. We’re not Brazil, and corn isnt sugarcane

      3. We have a legitimate democratic demand for renewable energy over the nonrenewable, polluting status quo.

        Government has no crystal ball to tell us which is the best alternative choice and the fact that oil consumption in the US has peaked without government doing anything to make it peak and markets doing everything to make it peak one would think letting the market choose winners and loser is the legitimate choice.

        Of course it has nothing to do with legitimacy. Alternative energy companies donate to and vote for Democrats.

        And that is why hacks like you support it.

        1. I support it because it’s absolutely necessary. I’m all for letting the market work out the details, and it would be freed to do so if we stopped subsidizing dirty energy.

          1. I support it because it’s absolutely necessary.

            A hack and a useful idiot…

            I never said the two were mutually exclusive. In fact you are proof that they are not.

            1. You’ve made me see the light. Oil is infinite in supply, and pumping heat-trapping gas into the atmosphere does not, in fact, trap heat. Hallelujah.

              1. pumping heat-trapping gas into the atmosphere does not, in fact, trap heat.

                there is only so much heat to trap and the amount of CO2 has already reached and surpassed that saturation point. ie all the heat that is capturable by CO2 is already captured in the atmosphere….more CO2 will not change that fact.

                also oil may as well be infinite.

                There is enough coal in the US that can be converted to oil at 40$ a barrel to last 200 years.

                Also the fact that oil consumption in the US has peaked proves that the oil age like the stone age, which didn’t end for a lack of stones, will not end for a lack of oil.

                1. there is only so much heat to trap

                  Technically, the sun’s supply of heat isn’t infinite, yes. On “saturation points” you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

                  Sea levels will rise faster than previously predicted.

                  Also the fact that oil consumption in the US has peaked

                  Ever heard of the rest of the planet? It contains such places as China and India.

                  1. Technically, the sun’s supply of heat isn’t infinite, yes. On “saturation points” you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

                    No dipshit CO2 only absorbs a specific type of heat. The heat that bounces off the earths surface.

                    One day you might think about learning how the global warming models that you worship actually work.

                    Sea levels will rise faster than previously predicted.

                    That is funny because the actual sea level measurements show it to that it has stopped rising and very recently declining:

                    http://wattsupwiththat.files.w…..otated.png

                    1. Don’t direct me to a shamefully discredited climate change skeptic if you want me to take you seriously.

                    2. Then look at the graph here:

                      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

                      See how the graph is pretty flat from 2004 to present?

                      Also see the nice drop at the end?

                      Notice how you are an idiot and how the “shamefully discredited climate change skeptic” is correct?

                      Notice how despite the facts staring you in the face you still go on believing in unicorns and fairy tales told to you by left wing moonbats?

                    3. The only one discredited here is you.

                    4. This is interesting.

                      In 2004 it was predicted that sea levels would rise at 15mm per year.

                      Since 2004 sea levels have risen at .876mm per year.

                      That is a rate more then 15 times lower then previously thought.

                      http://stevengoddard.wordpress…..predicted/

                    5. Here is something for you to read on the CO2 saturation theory.

                    6. Here is something for you to read on the CO2 saturation theory.

                      Yup there are two trains of thought on this one.

                      One claimed a massive increase in global temperatures. The other did not.

                      We have not had a massive increase in global temperature.

                      So to sum up CO2 saturation theory still holds…massive temperature increase theory not so much.

                    7. there is only so much heat to trap and the amount of CO2 has already reached and surpassed that saturation point. ie all the heat that is capturable by CO2 is already captured in the atmosphere….more CO2 will not change that fact.

                      It really isn’t about the source of the information. The Realclimate link that Tony provided gives the correct story on the issue of saturation theory.

                      Here’s another discussion.
                      http://www.skepticalscience.co…..vanced.htm

                    8. Yup there are two trains of thought on this one./i>

                      No, not really.

                    9. Here is something for you to read on the CO2 saturation theory.

                      Oh yeah and Real Climate the blog you linked to is the “Hide the decline” and climategate blog.

                      Here is what Muller said about the climategate folks:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk

                      If you are going to call Watts a discredited climate skeptic then it is only fair that I show you how the folks at the Real Climate website are actually discredited.

                    10. And there’s Hansen’s failed 1988 prediction of rapid sea-level rise in 20 40 years.

                      http://wattsupwiththat.com/200…..es-hansen/

                      Of course, he couldn’t leave well enough alone:

                      I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

                    11. If you are going to call Watts a discredited climate skeptic then it is only fair that I show you how the folks at the Real Climate website are actually discredited.

                      I love the “actually discredited” in your sentence as it implies that Watts has not “actually” been discredited. But, of course, most of his central claims have repeatedly been shown to be false. Whether or not you find the folks over at realclimate to be biased in their arguments, to pretend that Watts is anything more than a propagandist requires serious blinders.

                  2. Sea levels are expected to rise by 35 to 63 inches by 2100

                    I’m always ecstatic when they ratchet up the effects and crank down the timespan. It forces the issue. Which means that if sea levels are going to increase that much in that short a time, we’ll start seeing coastal cities swamped before my daughter graduates high school. I’m all tingly.

          2. I’m all for letting the market work out the details, and it would be freed to do so if we stopped subsidizing dirty energy.

            How many libertarian support “subsidizing dirty energy” beyond a compromise to get a more libertarian solution than exists already?

          3. Democracy has nothing to say about science. Democracy expresses opinion, science tests falsifiable hypotheses for truth. A democratic desire for fusion ain’t gonna make it happen.

      4. This is why I have no problem with subsidies for renewable energy things I like.

        Fixed.

      5. This is why I have no problem with subsidies for renewable energy. We have a legitimate democratic demand for renewable energy over the nonrenewable, polluting status quo. We don’t need to consult the market’s crystal ball to figure that out.

        And if these ever became highly profitable, Tony would never consider complaining about the CEO’s of these “renewable energy” companies “exploiting” the workers and consumers? Or talk of “concentration of wealth” and “wealth disparity” of the business elites and the average worker, right?

        Cause in the end, we all benefit, right?

        1. While obviously the industries that supply our energy will be large, I’m the one with the position to argue for stricter government policy regarding corporate influence over policy.

          It’s like you guys exempt every industry that’s historically received government support and pretend that the only ones that matter are the up-and-comers.

          1. It’s like you exempt Democrats. Period.

            1. I do not love Democrats. I hate Republicans, and have every reason to believe they’d gut this country from within if given the chance. Makes the choice easy.

              1. I hate Republicans

                Republicans like Gary Johnson and Mike Huckabee – who are obviously the same as Ron Paul and Sarah Palin, right?

                You do realize you just completely confirmed my point? You are incapable of breaking free from the partisan cell in your own mental prison.

    2. “Tony/Max/Shrike”

      A Fist Full of Dullards.

  19. It should be easy to negotiate for some cuts in ethanol and agriculture subsidies in exchange for cutting the oil companies tax breaks.

    1. “should” being the key word there

  20. YOU LIBERTARIANS SHALL DIE A PEASANT’S DEATH!!!!!

  21. they got away with it.. F))) everything about that

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