Extortion Isn’t Extortion When Congress Does It

So, the heads of 5 major oil companies got to were forced to go up to Capital Hill yesterday and explain how economics works to a bunch of clueless gits headed up by Rep. Edward Markey (D-mAsshole). I’m going to go off on a slight tangent for a moment and discuss something that irks the living pee out of me, to wit:

to keep billions in federal tax subsidies
There is no such thing as a “tax subsidy”. It’s a weasel phrase designed by socialists to make it appear that any reduction in your taxes is a subsidy from the government. I can’t think of a more pernicious lie at the moment, since it propagates the idea the government is really entitled to all your money, and anything they let you keep is “subsidizing” you. Fuck that. A subsidy is when the government strokes you a check. When you don’t pay as much in taxes as some unspeakably moronic jackanapes thinks you should, it is simply a tax reduction. Are we all clear on this? Good.

Now, let’s move on to some substantive points. If the government wants to reduce the price of gasoline at the pump, it can do so unilaterally in every state in the land simply by lowering gasoline taxes. Somehow, the government’s complicity in keeping gasoline prices up doesn’t occur to people like Rep. Markey. It’s all a plot by evil oil companies, even when ExxonMobil’s VP points out they’ve paid more in US taxes over the past five years then they’ve made in profit. XOM has an effective tax rate of 44%, and somehow, that’s just not enough. We'll take more with a windfall profits tax, because that'll make gas cheaper! Wait, what? Imposing additional costs makes things cheaper? WTF?

I guess the question to ask is who benefits from all this money the oil industry makes? Obviously, your federal government does pretty well from it. Most state government have a pretty large finger in the pie, and Texas is no exception. In the end, however, the profits are supposed to go to shareholders. The largest 10 shareholders of ExxonMobil:

Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd
State Street Corporation
Vanguard Group, Inc.
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
Bank of America Corporation
JP Morgan Chase & Company
Northern Trust Corporation
Wellington Management Company, LLP

If you’ll notice, most of the top 10 are asset management firms, banks, and mutual fund companies. I know for a fact at least three of the mutual funds in our 401k accounts have XOM as a holding. When they make money, I make money. I’m willing to bet most people with balanced 401k plans have some oil and gas industry stocks. But that’s cool, let Congress sock it to the oil companies because it won’t affect anyone but those greedy bastards in oil, right? If you wanted to retire soon and your 401k takes a beating because energy stocks tank, well, too bad for you, dammit. Work a few more years. Congress had to show those companies they should invest in worthless non-commercial technologies instead of giving dividends.

I’ve never made any secret of the fact my entire post-military career has been in the oil industry. Part of what irritates the hell out of me is the beating we take from fucktards on the left and in Congress. When the industry is booming, ignuts start whining about excessive profits and throwing around terms like windfall profits tax. Yet when the industry tanks, like it did in ’99, nobody could give a shit. Dumbasses who loaned money to people who filled out loan applications in crayon and had negative total assets are going to get bailed out by the Fed. Farmers get subsidies, actual checks, year after year because they’re special. The oil industry makes the modern world function. You may disagree from a philosophical standpoint about whether that’s good, but the fact is inarguable. We are essential to everything anybody does, yet the oil industry goes through one of our periodic busts and crickets chirp. If you’re not going to help us during the bust, don’t screw with us during the boom. We’ll manage just fine.

In the meantime, Rep. Markey and the rest of the ignuts in Congress need to focus on what they can do to lower gas prices instead of browbeating actual productive companies. Aren't there some baseball players they can harass or something?

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Blogger J said...

"A subsidy is when the government strokes you a check."

WRONG! A subsidy is when the government steals money from us at gunpoint and strokes a check to someone else. Ultimately we taxpayers will always get the shaft.

10:22 AM  

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