Why not target all energy tax breaks?
Once again, Congress has been debating the wind production tax credit, and once again Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and David Koch – via Americans for Prosperity, whose foundation he chairs – have led the campaign against it. That might be understandable if they also campaigned to end other energy tax breaks such as the oil and gas industry’s intangible drilling costs and percentage depletion, but they don’t.
Energy tax breaks – subsidies, if you prefer – are good for investors and states such as Kansas, as earnings are retained and used for additional development. The downside is that Congress estimates these tax breaks cost the U.S. Treasury $13.8 billion for wind and $13.4 billion for oil and gas over five years.
I hope Pompeo really isn’t practicing plain old crony capitalism given that oil and gas contributed $356,050 to his 2014 election campaign, according to the website OpenSecrets.org – a number topped only by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, out of 435 members.
If Pompeo and David Koch are selecting their own energy winners and losers, they should heed the Charles Koch-founded Cato Institute’s call for repeal of the mentioned oil and gas tax breaks along with those for wind. As Cato emphasizes, “Conservatives have no business defending any of them.”
Columnist Trudy Rubin asked why is there no coherent U.S. policy on defeating ISIS (Dec. 4 Opinion). Fair question. But I would pose another one: Why aren’t the people who are dying every day in the hands of these ISIS fanatics developing a “policy” of their own?
Sticking our noses where they don’t belong – like President Bush’s ill-advised foray into Iraq in 2003 that set Sunnis and Shiites at each other’s throats – did not help matters in the Middle East. But even though we may have loosed that Pandora’s box of religious hatred and recalcitrance, it’s the folks who are being killed every day and their governments who should band together to fight them.
I am sure some of the players in the region are sitting back, hoping ISIS will wipe out their “enemies” so they don’t have to. But do a Sunni Saudi Arabia and a Shiite Iran really think these ISIS fanatics – after they have made a wasteland of the rest of the Middle East – will care who is who when they come marching to Riyadh or Tehran?
If OPEC can manage to sit down in one room and figure out how to stick it to the West on oil, why can’t these same countries sit down and figure out how to oust the pond scum in their midst that is ISIS? How many more of their people have to die before they wake up to that is the real question – not America’s policy.
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