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Blog of Mass Destruction

So Very Serious

By The Reverend Published: July 6, 2010

Conservatives often rail against government coming to the aid of Americans down on their luck. Conservatives despise welfare....at least government welfare granted to poor, vulnerable, jobless, or uninsured Americans. These conservatives can be Republican or Democrat, as the recent Blue Dog Democrats vote to reject any more unemployment compensation to still unemployed workers....demonstrates.

These same poor-and-unemployed-bashing American conservatives, however, really, really like government assistance to filthy-rich multi-national oil corporations.

You may remember Barack Obama campaigning on eliminating tax susidies (welfare) for big oil and gas. Obama even proposed the elimination of corporate-oil welfare in his 2011 budget proposal. Center for American Progress...

President Obama’s 2011 budget proposes to eliminate nine different tax expenditures that primarily benefit oil and gas companies. Cutting these special tax deductions, preferences, and credits would save the government about $45 billion over the next 10 years.

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment a few weeks ago that would have....

.....cut $35 billion in subsidies for Big Oil. $25 billion of the savings would go toward reducing the deficit and $10 billion would fund a grant program encouraging energy-efficient buildings.

Sanders attempted to be, you know, reasonable....

If we can not address a situation in which some of the most profitable corporations in America pay zero federal taxes, and in fact get a tax rebate, then I’m not quite sure what this institution is doing.

Indeed.

What happened to the reasonable and conservative Sanders amendment?

Voted down in the Senate.....35 For, 61 Against.

No Republicans voted for the Sanders amendment. Not one. 22 Democratic Senators joined Republicans in their case study-vote on how Very Serious fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks really are. So Very Serious.

Keep in mind.....this is the same oil industry which has spawned our new national landmark....the Gulf of Mexico Tar Pits.

These are some of the very same Senators who insist on opening a can of "tough love" on your average American unemployed worker. Deficit Dogs, Deficit Hawks, Fiscal Conservatives, the Great and Mighty Guardians of the American Treasury just can't, you know, conscientiously, vote to extend unemployment checks to a couple million still-laid-off workers because it would add to the deficit.

Yet, these same Serious Senators, when given a chance to end welfare to Big Oil while reducing the deficit by $25 billion.....responded by saying, in effect, 'no thanks.....we're Very Serious about our Fierce Fiscal Hawkishness.....but not THAT Serious.'

Unemployed workers NEED those unemployment checks despite the extreme-right's characterization of those checks as "spoiling our citizenry."

Do huge multi-national oil and gas behemoths really need that $45 billion of America's tax revenues?

According to estimates from the Office of Economic Policy at the Department of Treasury, removing subsidies for the oil industry would at most affect domestic production by less than one-half of 1 percent.

Unlike unemployed workers.....Big Oil doesn't really need that $45 billion in government assistance. But hey, those no-voting Fiscally Conservative Bulldogs are....Serious.

Angry yet at all the Seriousness? Get a load of this...

Transocean, the company that owns the failed Deepwater Horizon rig that caused the Gulf oil spill, used well-known tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to lower its U.S. corporate tax rate by almost 15 points. And due to a break in the U.S. tax code, BP was also allowed to write off the rent it paid to Transocean on its own tax bill, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars per day:

The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes. At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.

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