Las Vegas Sun

April 27, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Time to end subsidies to big oil

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Congress can save both $1 trillion and the planet by bolstering clean energy jobs and public health protections, or it can bow to the dirty fossil-fuel industry and allow devastating cuts to crucial environmental programs.

Congress is debating drastic budget changes to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of automatic cuts to spending programs.

Big polluters want to cut environmental programs and kill the wind energy tax credit while maintaining their own subsidies.

Also on the table are potential cuts to crucial environmental programs — like the National Park Service and the Forest Service — that will leave our public lands vulnerable.

Congress must not put our nation’s lands, air and water in jeopardy. Instead, it should invest in America’s middle class by ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent and cutting unfair subsidies to Big Oil, timber and other polluters.

A healthy economy and a robust clean energy economy begin with a strong middle class. Congress must end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent. The revenue could be used to help working families, support vital services for the poor and programs that protect our air, land and water, and give every citizen a fair chance at the American dream.

Congress should eliminate the $41 billion in subsidies and tax breaks currently given to the oil and gas industry. Unlike working families struggling to make ends meet, the oil and gas industry has made more than $1 trillion in profits in the past decade alone.

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  1. A strong middle class begins with a strong dollar. A strong dollar begins with not printing more and more with nothing behind it except credit agency downgrades. If you want to make the argument for clean energy environmental reasons, and the heirs apparent to it, then do so. But by linking it to the economy and the dollar, you're fooling yourself and others who buy into the scam.


  2. Don't let the facts get in the way when you want to demonize a person or an industry. That's the credo of the left. I'd be most surprised if good old John does not use those products that he derides as "pollutants" on a regular basis and does not enjoy the benefits they shed on us all. If John is serious let him follow in the footsteps of Ed Begley, Jr. Begley not only "talks the talk;" he "walks the walk." And, while I do not totally agree with Begley, I admire him for both his stance and his adherence to it. It's not for me.

  3. Freeman,

    "Exxon Mobile's net income for 3 quarters is $34.9 billion.Estimated taxes to be paid by Exxon Mobil is 23.6 billion".

    Net profit as you have pointed out is what is called the bottom line. After all expenses are paid.34.9 billion net profit is pretty hefty for 3 quarters of income reporting by Exxon Mobile.So why would they need oil subsidies with this much profit?

  4. Why do you right wingers support giving tax subsidies to big oil/coal or corporate welfare in general? Don't you think corporations make enough in profits?

    As a matter of fact Michele Bachmann and others in Congress receive millions in subsidies to support their family businesses. Can I assume you think that's ok too?

  5. RefNV (Re Freeman): You clearly quote CreatedEQL as saying " "When Exxon report taxes it has paid to the government, it bamboozles you. Those numbers include the taxes it COLLECTED and paid to the government. Payroll taxes it's employes paid but Exxon collected and paid to the government. Taxes at the pump you paid, they collected from you and paid to the government. They then say we paid x in taxes, take their subsidies, give each other astronomical salaries, and laugh all the way to the bank". Please respond to CreatedEQL's comments on ALL taxes, rather than only to income taxes. I've seen comments that Exxon reports its sales tax payments as part of it's "taxes" i.e. but have nothing definitive - yet.

    I'd suggest an Intro to Accounting course for you. You'd learn that corporations do not "pay" any tax in the sense that private individuals do. Corporations roll ALL their expenses together, tack on whatever they want for a profit, and pass that entire amount on to their customers - or at least that's what they try to do. Some, like Exxon, succeed at it.

  6. jldour - "You can take away the subsidies, but be prepared to pay much higher prices for the product."

    Only if you continue buying those products. A lesson learned from the 70's was selling the big block engines and buying small Japanese cars during the gasoline crunch. Today, instant gratification consumers would rather moan, whine and complain about prices than give up their gas guzzling SUV's or trucks. Keeping up with the Jones' can be very expensive attempting to feed one's ego.

  7. Salaries and expenses are administrative costs that are deducted by Exxon, since that is the protagonist of this example, to arrive at a profit/loss. The admin costs [expenses] include payroll taxes paid by Exxon. They are a cost of operations to do business. If a profit remains, then Exxon pays taxes on it. Those taxes are not deductible for the purpose of computing Exxon's profit or loss. It is a tax on doing business. If you say they are [deductible], then I suggest you follow the advice, even if it's your own, of the poster who said you should take a class in intro to accounting.

    At the option of the company, Exxon included, it may deduct the taxes it pays on profits before distributing dividends to its shareholders. Or it may not.

    RefNV Freeman you're right on the money!


  8. "Today, instant gratification consumers would rather moan, whine and complain about prices than give up their gas guzzling SUV's or trucks. " @ Vernos Branco

    Comfort, room and safety are also reasons for the SUV's. And the tradeoffs for SUV owners to lower gas mileage.


  9. Trucks have utilitarian purposes for the owners, in addition to the others I mentioned above. And these are the tradeoffs to truck owners for the lower gas mileage.

    How boring and dull a world we would live in if we all chose the same vehicles to drive just for fuel economy. We'd be like Europe instead the USA.


  10. PS: Just as individuals can't deduct their personal income taxes paid from their wages and earnings to determine their taxable income and liability, corporations, like Exxon, can't.


  11. ExxonMobile is known to have a lot of off the book accounting just like Enron, mark to market and other scams. In Steve Coll's "Private Empire- Exxonmobil and American Power" says that they really lose a lot of money on the retail down stream side. They also inventoried them Canadian tar sands as "booked assets when the SEC told them they couldn't. There's no easy oil left we ought not be subsidizing the marginal oil, and coal companies especially crooked ones and think about the future.