Passing gas

Before I begin, I warn you that the standard disclaimer applies: it’s quite possible I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Wheh! Now that I’m free of that burden (responsibility) I’m ready to rock and roll.

It seems those pesky Democrats are up to no good again, making noise about ending tax breaks to oil companies in order to raise money for… get this… funding their own competition.

It sounds like crazy talk, until you consider the money’s for renewable energy.

What do the oil companies and their government surrogates have to say?

The Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and big oil companies condemned the bill, which they said would raise fuel prices for consumers, discourage oil and gas exploration in the United States and unfairly discriminate against a single industry while other manufacturers continue to enjoy tax breaks.

It makes you want to cry doesn’t it? Life’s just so unfair.

Hey wait a minute. Isn’t their product kind of responsible (at least in part) for the environmental mess we’re in?

And about those taxes… I’m sorry, aren’t global oil prices at record highs? Why is that? Is the price of oil higher this month because it’s costing them so much more money to extract and refine the same amount of oil they did last month? OR, is the price going up because of the increase in worldwide demand?

No wonder they’ve been raking in the dough these last couple years. It seems to me they get to make a LOT more money with what I assume is largely the same production costs. Is it so wrong to ask they to fork over a SMALL percentage of their windfall (which it seems you could argue has little to do with business savvy – and everything to do with luck) to help fund renewable energy, and fix the mess they helped us make? If I’m not mistaken, the definition of profit is money you make after expenses. If the net effect of the proposed tax increase is lower profits (but still greater than zero), they wouldn’t really have to charge consumers more for fuel, would they? They’d still be PROFITING from the sale of oil.

Their Christmas bonus might suffer a little, along with the value of their stock portfolio. I’ll try not to lose any sleep over it.

Supporters of the measure noted that rescinded tax breaks would amount to less than 2 percent of the profits of the five biggest oil companies.

It’s more than possible that I’m missing something here. I really want to understand. Give it another shot… go out and win this one for the Gipper!

“The administration must strongly oppose” the legislation, the Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday, “because the bill would use the tax code to target tax increases on a specific industry in a way that will lead to higher energy costs to U.S. consumers and businesses.” The OMB said that if the bill were sent to the president in its current form, “his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Nope, that doesn’t do anything for me. (see above)

I kind of like a phrase a blogger I admire used a couple days ago: “I call bullshit.” (I hope he doesn’t mind if I take it out for a spin.)

By the way, I love these little hypothetical arguments I have with myself. I get to rig it any way I want – and I usually get to win! It kind of makes up for all the arguments I lose at home.


  1. Imagine the nerve of those House Democrats! I mean, come on… who voted and left them in charge?

    Oh yeah ;-)

    But seriously, I agree Richard. The only thing I’m not sure of is if it’s got enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster in the Senate. Either way it’s discouraging. I do think the tide’s turning a bit on environmental issues… just much too slowly. What’s got me is it seems the oil companies’ obstructionism isn’t even a good business move… as you suggest. But to take it further, what’s to prevent oil companies from gaming the system a bit. They give up the tax fight, and apply for some of the proposed subsidies to develop renewable energy themselves. Maybe it’s not the most profitable short term path, but even they’ve got to see the writing on the wall. Heck, don’t a lot of successful businesses have their eye on diversification? They can’t all be that willfully ignorant, can they?

    I probably shouldn’t say anything. I work in the public sector for a reason: I have little aptitude for business.

    I wondered if you’d read the article in Salon the other day: “The cold truth about climate change?” I thought the author was a bit harsh on the word “consensus,” but otherwise I thought it was an interesting read. I’d seen some of the points made mentioned in other places, but although I’m hardly an expert it seemed like a pretty good summary of the argument against AGW denial (for one article).

  2. Having read about this story fairly extensively in the last few days, the legislation isn’t expected to pass in the Senate… Because it doesn’t have White House support. I can’t for the life of me understand why they don’t force Shrub to veto it.

    Everyone hears how India and China are such horrible polluters and any climate deal has to include them. But both countries produce GHG at about 10 percent the rate of the west on a per capita basis (less than 10 for India) and both places are much further along the renewable road. At the moment, China is building more wind farms than currently exist elsewhere in the world, and the country promises to create 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020. Canada and the US are going to be left behind – and become far less competitive – sooner than anyone imagines.

Give the gift of words.