By Gary P Jackson
This morning Barack Obama, standing in the Rose Garden, called on Congress to end what he called “subsidies,” in actuality, tax breaks, to the oil companies.
Now one could make the case that it’s not a bad idea to stop subsidizing, or giving tax breaks to a lot of energy businesses, but with near record high gasoline prices, the last thing we need is for the president to do something that would only cause those prices to go higher. You can bet any increase in taxes to Big Oil will translate to higher prices at the gas pump.
Let’s not forget, Obama promised that under his plan, energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” So far he’s keeping his word.
Thankfully the Senate voted and said “no thanks” to Obama’s plan.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s plea to Congress to end $4 billion in tax subsidies to oil companies was rebuffed Thursday as the Senate turned back a Democratic bill to repeal the tax breaks.
Moments after Obama made his election-year appeal in the White House Rose Garden, the Senate failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote to proceed to a measure that would have ended the subsidies. Obama had argued that Americans are getting hit twice — once at the gas pump, and once more by sending billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies.
“I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank,” the president said. “And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.”
The Senate vote was 51-47, short of the 60 votes necessary. Two Republicans voted to procede to the legislation — Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. But four Democrats rejected the effort — Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Begich of Alaska.
Prior to the vote, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell challenged Obama and Democratic leaders.
“Is this the best we have to offer folks who are staring at $4 a gallon gasoline? A bill that even Democrats admit won’t do anything to lower the price of gas?” the Kentucky lawmaker asked.
Obama said oil companies are pulling in record profits and shouldn’t get taxpayer help when that money could be used on alternative energy. Obama, up for re-election, has sought to align himself with people frustrated by high gas prices.
Many congressional Republicans said cutting the tax breaks would lead to higher fuel prices, raising costs on oil companies and affecting their spending on exploration. Obama couldn’t end the subsidies when Democrats controlled Congress earlier in his term.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would continue pressing for repeal of the subsidies.
“That was an unfortunate vote,” he said of Thursday’s Senate action. Obama “won’t stop calling for this, it makes zero sense to have the American taxpayer subsidize oil and gas companies who are enjoying record profits.”
Obama spoke before a crowd in the Rose Garden that included representatives from energy, business and environmental groups, as well as people who wrote on social media sites about how rising gas costs affected their finances.
As we know, raising energy prices also means the cost of everything else goes up. As transportation costs rise, so do food prices and prices on other essentials. So what Obama is proposing is going to effect every single American in a negative way.
One of the things Obama said in his speech today was that he was for “all of the above” when it comes to energy development, a patently false statement. We all know the regime has backed numerous failed “green” companies like Solyndra, Fisker, and of course, General Motors and the Chevy Volt. More taxpayer money has been wasted on these programs, and others, like ethanol, than the oil company subsidies. At least with Big Oil, we have something to show for it.
There is only one way to make America truly energy independent, and that’s to start using our own natural resources. We already know that we have at least 300 years worth of recoverable crude oil alone. We have like amounts of natural gas and coal as well. There is no excuse for us not to be energy independent. There also no excuse for the Obama regime’s misuse of tax payer dollars, rewarding cronies with Energy Department loans on projects that have no future.
I’m all for exploring alternative forms of energy, but the government has proven it is incapable of managing such an endeavor. It’s time for government to get out of the way, and let the free market determine what our best, most viable alternatives are.
BTW, it should be no surprise that Senator Obama was all for tax breaks for Big Oil. In 2005 he voted for $2 billion worth of the very incentives he now opposes. Check out RealClearPolitics as Obama’s Press Secretary, Jay Carney does a little shuck and jive for the cameras.