The right first reaction to news that Boehner says eliminating subsidies to big oil should be on the table, is to suggest Boehner is folding…once again… to liberal pressure to keep up the class wars meme. I was tempted to lean that way myself but, on second thought, I believe he’s on to something here. IF Boehner takes a leadership position on how we should be managing our relationship with our energy providers, I fully support what he suggests in this clip:
Taken as a soundbite, this can be seen as Boehner capitulating to Democrats on the matter of demonizing *big oil* and evil/greedy rich corporations who only care about profits and their bottom lines. What we all need to do is take a big step back, and look at the bigger picture here…not just at whether we need to “tax the rich because our bloated Government doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to reduce irresponsible spending.”
Consider the “business” of providing oil & gas to the American consumer, and what that entails (you should really take the time to read that article, by the way).
In order to get fuel into your car (or heating furnace or power generation plant…etc), billions must be spent in order to get permission, and actually DRILL, to acquire it. Then, billions more are spent to get it TO a refinery (that costs billions to get approval for, build, operate and maintain), “cook” it down to some usable byproduct, and deliver it wherever it will be consumed.
In order to afford all that…obviously…prices are set in ways that allow these energy providers to recoup their costs and make sufficient profits in order to keep doing MORE of what they do and – as the rules of capitalism necessarily dictate – have enough left over to live their lives and buy their houses (and their cars and boats and ski lodges in Aspen) and send their kids to college (or save for their retirement) each according to their ability to pay. Just like the rest of us.
There is no evil in oil production. This entitlement mentality that runs rampant throughout our Republic…suggesting we are OWED this product by the people that did the actual work of making it available for our consumption… is at the base of the love-hate relationship Democrats have helped foster with, in this case, *big oil* and no amount of taxing them more or punishing them more or vilifying them more seems to be enough to sate the handout-takers.
There are no evil people in oil production, either. There are people trying to make a living – just like everyone else – and not enough people seem to understand, or care, about the individuals that comprise the oil and gas industry. Where I see an opportunity for the Speaker to take back control of the dialog, however, is in his approach to the issue presented in this article; subsidies.
Removing a tax break is the same thing as a tax increase. With that said, however, we have an opportunity here to have a conversation with the oil industry about their giving back the handouts from us that were first given to ease their pain associated with exploring, extracting, refining, and delivering this product to the taxpayers. We have an opportunity – we, meaning Boehner and the current majority in the House – to negotiate a win-win for both sides. Take back subsidies at a time when overall profits are at nearly $400million dollars a day (meaning they can afford to NOT receive the subsidies) so taxpayers can have that money to address larger, more pressing issues with which they are presently confronted.
Open up more exploration opportunities, expand the number of available frontiers, reduce the red tape and outrageous fees and restrictions and anti-oil regulations handed down by Executive fiat. Break the EPA’s neck, and shut down their ability to circumvent Congressional authority. Make foreign oil less attractive than domestic oil to the consumers and the speculators by squeezing OPEC and making it harder for them to get our money. Do this, and we can regain a little independence from the Middle East, and our new pals in Brazil. Do it not, and gasoline will keep going up…to a point that none of us can afford it and our President will be out of a job. (that last isn’t so displeasing, btw)
Boehner has a chance to lead, and lead in a way and in a direction that many of us doubters out here would be willing to follow. He needs to get the American people to understand that *big oil* isn’t just about prices at the pump; “punish their success so we can pay less for their products” is not a winning formula. Give them incentives… reasons to invest their money in more development… and their increased volume(s) of production will take care of the prices at the pump.
We need Boehner to lead, and to do so in a way that gives us confidence he knows what he’s doing for the good of the economy and the American people. Let the Democrats fight for the scraps at the Big Oil Master’s table…and let Boehner fight for the personal and economic freedom of the American people.
[lead image via Politifake