Daily WTF: Oil industry defends billions in tax breaks despite record profits

So Congress pretended to grill oil industry executives today in a hearing that gave politicians plenty of time to grandstand and not much else. Oil industry executives are trying to convince Congress to renew $18 billion — yes, billion — in tax breaks, which were given to the industry back in the 1990s when oil prices were in the tank and the industry was ailing. The problem now is that the oil industry made $123 billion — again, billion is correct — last year and gas prices are heading quickly toward $4 per gallon.

So were the executives contrite when they testified? Hell no. They went on the offensive. They need $18 billion to sustain the industry during downturns. The industry is cyclical, they say. Well, yes. But that’s why it’s called an investment. Meantime, I haven’t seen any analyst predict that oil prices will drop anytime soon, so this current “up” cycle likely will last for quite a while. That will give the industry plenty of time to sustain their investments without raping the American taxpayer.

So suck it up, oil industry. We have been carrying you for a decade; it’s time for you to carry us. And Congress, do what’s right: Strip those tax breaks and either invest the entire amount in research for alternative energy sources or give the ailing taxpayers a real tax break (not the upcoming fake one).

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~ by amarvin on Tuesday, April 1, 2008.

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