Thursday, August 11, 2005

LFH: Corporate welfare

America's right-wing is famous for its fanatical obsession with Laissez Faire "Free Markets". A lesser-trumpeted obsession is Free Government Money.

When GWB signed the National Energy Bill into law Monday (8th Aug 05), the oil industry had been reporting record profits for at least three quarters due to the huge increase in crude prices (touching $64/bbl and climbing).

With such staggering increases in energy prices, one thing becomes apparent: we need to give more money to Big Oil to find more reserves.

Only a tiny bit of research turns up Exxon's reported profits:

Worth $372B as of 4 Aug 05

4th 3 mo 2004: $5,680M
1st 3 mo 2005: $7,860M
2nd 3 mo 2005: $7,640M

Here's how CNN described the bill:
The legislation was a big win for the Bush administration, which proposed an overhaul of national energy policy four years ago.

But the president didn't get everything he wanted in the bill.

The administration's controversial plan to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be taken up by Congress in separate legislation this autumn.

Big winners in the bill that passed Friday were oil, gas, coal and nuclear power companies, which will get a large share of the legislation's $14.5 billion in tax credits and financial incentives.

The measure will do little to tackle high energy prices in the short term, but the new policy in the years ahead aims to boost domestic energy supplies.

Nuclear Engineering International ( wrote:

Designed to reduce domestic dependence on foreign oil, the bill will cost $14.6 billion over 10 years, double the cost the administration was seeking, and this mostly goes to nuclear and fossil companies. Of the provisions set out in the bill, electric utilities will save $3.1 billion over 10 years, the coal industry $2.9 billion, and the oil-and-gas business $2.7 billion.

Republicans hailed the bill for its free-market principles and support of less polluting energy sources, while Democrats criticised the bill, calling it corporate welfare for already wealthy industries.

With record profits, how can the industry justify a need for tax incentives to do its job? Does capitalism require such a crutch?

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