Fiscal cliff deal exempted Big Oil’s billion dollar subsidies

Who but Congress could forget about Big Oil?

The most profitable business on the planet needs help, so naturally it makes sense for middle class taxes to go up with the fiscal cliff deal, but billions to an industry that has been enjoying stunning profits are maintained. Okay, gotcha.

The poor little lambs of Big Oil still need help making a buck, but please don’t call them “entitled.”

The final fiscal cliff deal does not touch oil and gas subsidies, confirms Rory Cooper, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Ending the costliest tax breaks for oil and gas companies would have raised tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Trimming just a handful of these breaks for the big five companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—would’ve raised $24 billion over the next decade. President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal called for ending 13 breaks benefiting oil and gas companies of all sizes; it would have saved $46 billion over 10 years.

There was a window of time around the November elections when it looked as if these subsidies might, just might, face even the slightest cuts. At the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney, whose closest allies included the head of the oil lobby, said oil subsidies were on the table if corporate taxes were lowered. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the powerful House energy and commerce committee, said in a debate that he’d end all energy subsidies, including those for oil and gas. And a week after the election, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refused to rule out trimming oil and gas subsidies as part of a fiscal cliff deal.

Don’t forget about Big Oil the next time a mouthy CEO talks about the need for entitlement reform. All of these companies have been big recipients of handouts from the government for years – but you’re the freeloader.

And finally, did anyone really expect Congress to bother to show any leadership on trimming their own fat benefits? No, they still have the same comfortable rather-high salaries (in the $175,000 range for most members), the same state-of-the-art health insurance plan subsidized by you and me (but how dare they subsidize our health insurance!)

See, Congress is much better than the rest, so to ask them to accept cuts would be like asking the bank or Big Oil to accept cuts – downright un-American.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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