The Truth Behind Oil Subsidies

It’s easy to take shots at oil companies, especially when gas prices are rising over $4 per gallon. Playing the role of David against an enormous corporate Goliath is a great way to score political points, so it’s no wonder that President Barack Obama and liberals in Congress have issued a clarion call for the end to oil subsidies as a way of wreaking revenge against those they say are responsible for the high cost of energy.

The truth, though, isn’t as simple as the good-versus evil fable the left would have you believe.

On Wednesday, five Democratic U.S. senators sent a letter to the CEOs of the country’s five largest oil companies declaring, ”[I]f we are truly serious about cutting our deficit, it is imperative that we start by getting rid of wasteful and ineffective corporate subsidies that have outlived their usefulness.”

The left’s anti-subsidy rhetoric is right on. Ending all energy subsidies, including those for oil and gas, would be good for American taxpayers and consumers. But if those senators were truly serious about cutting the deficit, they wouldn’t stop at just cutting subsidies for oil companies. They would also call for the elimination of subsidies for the president’s pet projects such as renewable fuels, electric vehicles, wind and solar. Throw in clean coal and natural gas, too. That would be the right move for the American taxpayers. But good policy isn’t their goal – vilifying an industry is their end game.



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