We often hear from Republicans that federal tax subsidies for so called “green power” should be eliminated. A multitude of reasons are given for such positions, including the often heard “the government should not be distorting the market in favor of one form of energy.” I don’t agree, but fair enough. But when you bring this viewpoint to the tax breaks enjoyed by big oil all of a sudden the conversation changes, lots of stammering and foot shuffling ensues, and you end up with someone saying something like “the oil companies are gonna pay their fair share of taxes.” I guess that is what happened to Speaker John Boehner, who appeared to be in favor of getting rid of some of the tax breaks enjoyed by big oil, until he shifted gears and was against it. (That was the foot shuffling part).
President Obama, with gas prices surging, used his weekly address to talk about getting rid of these expensive “tax expenditures” while we are talking about huge cuts to Medicare to balance the budget. They may actually have served a useful purpose at some point, but with big oil recording record profits lets just do away them and make the types of choices that are necessary in today’s budget climate. Shared sacrifice does not just mean cuts for the poor. It means everybody.
Rep. Paul Ryan apparently agrees, although it appeared that Speaker Boehner agreed as well. Interesting exercise to see who will take positions at variance with their own orthodoxy in order to make progress on the deficit. Looking at the political landscape today you would have to say that progress on that front is a long way off.