Monday, August 18, 2008

Subsidizing the Devil (Not Cheney)

In our discussions on oil prices I keep getting complaints about the BIG OIL (emphasis for humor, just imagine God calling it out from Heaven) companies getting "subsidies" (I'll explain the quotes in a moment).

So to begin, let's define subsidy (from
: a grant or gift of money: as a: a sum of money formerly granted by the British Parliament to the crown and raised by special taxation b: money granted by one state to another c: a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public
Now I'm all for stopping the practice of having government give out money to solve problems. The dipshit that came up with this insanity should betossed into a pack of horny cannibals covered in steak sauce. But he's probably been dead for years, so bring on the horny cannibal necrophiliacs. We pay out too much to too many people and too many companies, and this makes them rely on someone else to take care of them rather than making it on their own merits.

So I decided to go a-Googling and find out how much money we were giving the EEEVIL big oil companies. And I just picked the first two sites that came up, Grist and After reviewing all the "subsidies" they declared that dirty, evil America-screwing oil companies were getting (and the appropriate Nazi Pelosi-approved green solution), I had my answer. The answer is:


Okay, I know this is confusing, but let me break this down. First of all, when the liberals refer to subsidies, they are talking about tax breaks designed to allow our domestic production to compete with government-controlled foreign oil. This is the most maddening part of any discussion. These are not subisities, because the government is not giving money to them, it's just not taking as much. The same semantics are used with the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is not a credit, but a but a transfer of wealth to people with low incomes and children. In other words, it IS a subsidy.

Sometimes, (as in the article, they lump in other costs as subsidies, like:
  • Construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.
  • Costs of complying with federal mandates that the government currently pays
  • Costs of military deployment in oil-rich areas
  • Fire, police, and emergency services
  • Sickness and death, crop failutes, urban sprawl, traffic jams, the destruction of man and all his works, dogs and cats, living togater, mass hysteria*
Okay, the last couple of things come from the movie GhostBusters, but you get the idea. Essentially, there is a belief in some quarters that our oil-based culture is a cancer and that we must engineer our tax structure and culture to cut it out:
The first step toward getting the public to recognize the damage caused by the United States' gasoline dependance is getting the public to recognize how much they are paying for this damage. The best way, in turn, to accomplish this goal is to eliminate government tax subsidies, program subsidies, and protection subsidies for petroleum companies and users, and to internalize the external environmental, health, and social costs associated with gasoline use. This would mean that consumers would see the entire cost of burning gasoline reflected in the price they pay at the pump. Drivers faced with the cost of their gasoline usage up front may have a more difficult time ignoring the harmful effects that their addiction to automobiles and the internal combustion engine have on national security, the environment, their health, and their quality of life.[emphasis added]
Essentially, the problem with all this is that, with the tax system as convoluted as it is (can you guess what's coming?), it becomes hard to distinguish what is a subsidy, what is a tax break, and what is simply political bullshit. As it is an election year, the whole mess is amplified to the utterly insane.

There are several things we could do to solve this. First of all, we need to fix the tax code, which changes with the political wind. The solution there is theFairTax (if you guessed it, give yourself a pat on the ass), of course. this would put everyone on a level playing field, as the tax would be there at the pump. I'm sure they could even build it in on the pumps to show you. As for this "addiction", the answer to getting away from oil is to have something cheaper out there for us to run on. I know there are people running on waste cooking oil, the price of hybrid, flex, and battery technology is getting closer, and there are plenty of practical clean technologies (nuclear) that we have yet to embrace. And on the horizon, there's more to come.

And to expedite all the technology we could be embracing, let's just stop listening to the enemies of alternative energy: The environmentalist wackos. These are the people who oppose oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, ethanol, tidal, hydroelectric, wind, solar (they actually use the term "Big Solar" in here!), wood, and any other energy that might give us the power we need to succeed. Holy piss in the holy water, people. The only alternative these fruitcake shitboxes give us is to move into mud huts and go back to wearing goat skins (except that would require murdering the proud and noble goat).

To drive economies, we need the cheapest sources of power out there. This is not a liberal or conservative idea, it is a fact. And as long as we cloud the issue by mislabelling and fighting against acquiring that energy, we're never going to reach our potential, and neither will the rest of the world.


Toad734 said...

The 2005 energy bill sets aside 4 billion dollars in direct subsidies and yes some tax breaks. 1.5 billion is a direct subsidy given to deep water drillers which Exxon claims to be. That 1.5 Billion is not a tax reduction; it is cash out of my pocket and your kid’s schools and cash into the most profitable corporation ever. Again, this is what happens when you elect a Texas oil man with ties to the Saudi Royal family.

We can also talk about royalty relief that was discounted or discontinued in the 2005 energy bill. That's money they have to pay for drilling on public lands. That money would have also gone into the treasury and been used to pay for things such as education or wars.

And so if Exxon pays a lower tax rate than I do personally, why do they need tax breaks if they are the most profitable company in history? Does this mean you think Bill Gates needs his taxes lowered?

And although I don't agree with child tax credits, that is a reduction in taxes, not a subsidy. That’s like saying my tax refund due to my mortgage was a subsidy when it isn't. The Government has a vested interest in me buying and owning property so they encourage it by reducing my taxes yet it doesn't happen on my pay stub, it happens in the form of a refund. The same kind of refund you get for having how ever many kids you have. The welfare/economic stimulus check was a direct subsidy.

Patrick M said...

First of all, before the ripping, I've been wondering what happened to you. Glad to see you're back and pissed as ever.

That 1.5 Billion is not a tax reduction; it is cash out of my pocket and your kid’s schools and cash into the most profitable corporation ever

Okay, I went to the actual fucking bill (not the exasperation) and checked. It is most definitely loaded with shit. I read the gobbledygook and found out what that the bill is such a clusterfuck of conflicting bullshit, there's no possible way to find a clear number. So unless you have a link to someone other than a fringe site to back that up, I have to call BS on your direct subsidy number.

As for taking money away from education, this is the problem with all things emanating from Washington. We shouldn't be getting money for schools and health care and housing and fruit flies fucking research!

And although I don't agree with child tax credits, that is a reduction in taxes, not a subsidy.

Speaking from experience, when your tax burden is $0 and you get a $4000 refund, it's a subsidy. almost as bad as the vote buying scheme.

As for Exxon having to pay less in taxes, you keep missing the fact that they just pass all those taxes and regulations and governmental costs on to US. So they don't pay taxes.

As for Bill Gates, sure. Although I'd prefer to just fix the tax system completely rather than pick every nit (picking my ass would be more effective). Which brings us back to (survey says....) the FairTax (redundant? yes).

Toad734 said...

As with all bills, yes the energy bill is a cluster fuck. They do that so you can't look it up and see how much the richest company in the world takes out of your pocket. And as you know, there are at least 4 billion in handouts and savings in it for the most profitable business in the world.Sure, most of it is in the form of lower taxes but those lower taxes didn't lower prices. So no, those taxes or tax savings are not always passed on to the consumer, this energy bill proves just that. The way I see the energy bill is that It would be just as ridiculous to see Donald Trump standing outside of a housing project and begging for change. There are several, if not hundreds of websites all claiming the same things; Exxon and all their buddies got 4 billion from the government and 1.5 billion is a direct subsidy for anyone who does deep water drilling, the rest was mostly tax breaks and then of course there is the elimination of them having to pay to use public lands. I don't think you will find anyone, not even Exxon, who will dispute this.

Who do you know who has a tax burden of 0 and got a $4000 refund? I got a $4000 refund because I am paying interest on two mortgage loans and get get monthly commission checks which are sometimes really big and I get taxed heavier on those months than I do when I get smaller checks but I pay plenty in taxes, I can assure you of that.

And yes, you sound like a broken record with the fair tax thing which would never work as described on the website.

I was in Mexico last week.

Patrick M said...

Who do you know who has a tax burden of 0 and got a $4000 refund?

Me. I can share the relevant 1040 data if you need to see it.

As for the FairTax, the only way it won't work is if every politician gets hold of it and modifies it to their prejudices, which is the biggest problem of the current system.

And Mexico is cool. Hopefully, you had the sense to take advantage of the gas prices down there.

Toad734 said...

So you are saying that you pay no net taxes, plus $4000 per year back from the government? Is that food stamps or something? How is that possible? So you get every dollar back that you pay to the federal government and then you get an additional $4000 just because you have 2 kids? Maybe I should rethink my kid position.

Again, I am not for taking away welfare and putting it back into the tax code, I have never said that. All I say is that I certainly don't need to pay any new taxes but that it isn't fair that I have to pay a higher percentage of SS taxes than Bill Gates and that my overall tax burden is probably a higher percentage than what Exxon pays on their profits and of course I don't get a billion dollars in subsidies for doing my job.

Patrick M said...

When I get home, I'll copy that part of my 1040 for you to see and email it to you.

As for rethinking your position on kids, if you don't really want them, don't have them. The changes they bring to your life are awesome. But you won't come out ahead financially no matter what. You should ask my parents how much I cost them.