During the last three months of 2011, the five largest oil companies doing business in the United States reported combined profits of about $32 billion. One analyst estimates that from 2001-11, the same firms raked in $1 trillion in profits.
Obviously, big businesses such as these need no help from taxpayers. Yet they enjoy substantial breaks in the U.S. tax code.
Finally, Congress seems poised to end that outrage. A bill approved recently in the U.S. Senate would kill several tax breaks enjoyed by Big Oil.
But if some in the Senate have their way, money from oil company tax breaks will not be used to reduce the spending deficit or provide tax relief for hard-pressed American families. It will be used for new subsidies for the energy industry, this time for companies and activities favored by President Barack Obama.
New tax breaks for "renewable energy," electric cars and energy efficient homes would replace those for oil companies, under the liberal plan.
Billions of dollars in taxpayers' money have been wasted in renewable energy subsidies for firms such as Solyndra. Enormous amounts of fraud have been uncovered in home "weatherization" programs. Even with hefty subsidies, electric cars don't appeal to most people. Yet the liberals want to continue pouring money down various rat holes.
Congress should end the oil company breaks - but not replace them with yet another boondoggle.
The OBSERVER would like to congratulate staff writer Diane Chodan. She won the 2010-2011 New York News Publishers Association contest for headline writing for newspapers under 10,000 circulation class. Her headline "It takes talent to be a dummy" was used on a story during last year's Chautauqua County Fair. She is the first OBSERVER staff member to be honored for headline writing by the NYNPA, which only gives first-place awards. The last time an OBSERVER staff member won an NYNPA contest was in 2008, when Mary Ann Herrington won Distinguished Column Writing for "Losing Faith."