Talking to the Tax Man about Petrochemistry

From Reuters, “US Treasury secretary attacks oil, gas tax breaks“:

WASHINGTON, March 4 (Reuters) – U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Wednesday.

It was one of the sharpest attacks yet on the oil and gas industry by a top Obama administration official, reinforcing the White House stance that new U.S. energy policy will focus on promoting renewable energy sources like wind and solar power and rely less on traditional fossil fuels like oil as America tackles climate change.

Because the markets need another dose of confidence-building rhetoric about now.

These populist attacks against wealth creators, you expect them during a campaign. Regrettable, but that’s politics. But from a top Administration official in the middle of a deep recession?

In any case, if carbon dioxide is now a pollutant, then EVERYTHING contributes to global warming, including the middle class. So no tax cuts for you!

More Geithner…

Geithner said the additional taxes “can be absorbed” by the oil and gas companies, given the billions of dollars they have earned from high energy prices.

“The impact of these subsidies are very small relative to revenues produced by U.S. oil and gas producers,” he said.

So, in effect, a windfall profits tax. How did that work?

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