By Daniel J. Weiss
President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 sets a responsible course for rebuilding the economy so that it works for everyone, not just the privileged few. Our middle class is the engine of economic growth, but is threatened by dwindling public investments, a tax system increasingly rigged to benefit the wealthy, a fraying safety net, and assaults on what should be the bedrock guarantees of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The president’s budget protects those guarantees, boosts critical investments, and takes steps toward rebalancing the tax code so that all pay their fair share. And it does this in a fiscally responsible way, charting a path that nurtures the economic recovery while reducing the federal deficit, all without asking the middle class to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden.
President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget would make taxes fairer by, among other things, eliminating $40 billion in tax breaks over 10 years for oil and gas companies. About one-fourth of the savings would be invested in domestic manufacturing, which would create jobs.
Oil and gas companies are raking in record profits and clearly do not need these tax breaks. The big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—made a combined profit of $137 billion in 2011. This beats their previous 21st century record of $136 billion (2011$) in 2008, and ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips were the first, fourth, and 15th most profitable companies on the Fortune 100 List in 2011.
Despite these humongous earnings, however, the American Petroleum Institute—Big Oil’s political arm—will likely trot out its tired excuses about why hugely profitable oil companies need $40 billion in tax breaks while middle-class Americans are paying higher gasoline prices.
Let’s review their arguments for keeping these unfair tax breaks:
These tax break funds should be used to benefit middle-class Americans—our engine of economic growth—instead of just a handful of extremely wealthy oil companies. The administration would use about one-fourth of the $40 billion in savings to create jobs and build up domestic manufacturing companies with investments in energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing.
We face many economic challenges. The United States must make investments in industries that can rebuild the middle class, build companies that can compete with other nations, reduce pollution from oil and coal, and shrink a huge federal budget deficit. A relatively painless way to further these goals is to eliminate $40 billion of tax breaks for some of the richest companies in the land. As President Obama said today, “That’s not class warfare. That’s common sense.”
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/president-obama-s-oil-change-cut-tax-breaks-invest-jobs-1329238010. All rights are reserved.