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VIDEO: Today Sen. Sanders, Rep. Keith Ellison, Bill McKibben and others announced a bill to end all fossil fuel subsidies: http://youtu.be/M3-d-0OSnoU
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103 comments
 
Why just oil, gas and coal? Why not end the all the subsidies and let us keep the taxes used to fund those subsidies?
 
I love you guys to pieces, but it is really annoying how many of these are presented just as video clips, as if everyone could access the audio on them. Any press releases? Transcripts? Articles summarizing the statements/bill?
 
Why are these people cheering for further skyrocketing of gas prices? You think we're that stupid Sen. Sanders??
 
+John Blanton Higher gas prices hurt poor people the most. More angry poor people helps the socialist cause. Hungry people are more willing to sacrifice their freedoms and those of others.
 
+John Blanton Also notice that they're proposal will raise gas prices gradually over 10 years. The negative impact of their proposal will be felt after the current administration is over and I expect they'd be quick to blame the same corporations for the higher gas/food prices which would result from targeted legislation such as this.
 
By that logic, I guess we should just give them infinite taxpayer cash and free gas for everybody!

Amazing mental gymnastics must be required to badmouth "socialism" in the same breath that you are advocating giving public money to corporations in order to artificially lower prices for a greater good....
 
+Kendal Houser Read my previous post:
Why just oil, gas and coal? Why not end the all the subsidies and let us keep the taxes used to fund those subsidies?
 
Gas is going to go away. That is a given. It is a finite resource that is being consumed far faster than it can be created.

The price of gas will inevitably go up, as any increasingly scarce product will. Better to control its price rise and make some use of it (like creating infrastructure and uses of alternative forms of energy that will be around once gas is gone) rather than let it go uncontrolled with a crash at the end and no good means of trnasitioning to anything else.
Obviously.
 
Oil companies profit .07 per gallon.
Gov profits .48 per gallon via fuel taxes.
 
You must use an interesting definition of "profit" for that... can we not at least consider transportation infrastructure to be a "cost" for the government in that equation.
 
The USA does not make a profit on gasoline that it returns to it's investors like the oil companies.We use that money to provide the infrastructure that enables the oil companies to sell their products to the end user.
 
Gas prices are going to go up because of a Sanders bill that will eliminate oils subsidies? You really think that will pass? Besides, gas prices are going to go up in any case. Either your tax dollars are going to pay subsidies which help keep gas prices low, or your disposable income is going to pay more for gas at the pump. I really don't see the difference. It's pay me now, through taxation, or pay me later, retail. And for people who bitch about government interference in the marketplace, "picking the winners" and all that, ending oil company subsidies seems like a no-brainer. Oil subsidies are a form of corporate welfare. The oil industry is the ultimate welfare queen.
 
Thanks to Mark for beating me to it. Gov't profits? Gov't is by the people. I'd rather the money went to the gov't than a corporation which will ensure I never get to benefit from their profit. (In fact I am likely to be hurt over their profits, due to their destruction of environment, etc.) And yes, because we have tax giveaways in the billions to the companies, they more than recoup ( and we lose ) that money.
 
Fair enough.
The government "takes" more money per gallon than oil companies profit...by 7x's.
 
OK, first, +John Blanton you're an idiot. Gas prices aren't going up because of this. Gas prices have just been going up, period. In what world is TODAY'S prices affordable? The prices are going up because people keep paying it, and shareholders want maximum profit. So let's say, let the price go up, force people to start finding alternatives.

Second, +James Stilwell you too are an idiot. You can't get all of your subsidies back, there are billions going to farming to help keep food prices down. You're worried about GAS prices hurting poor people... are you insane? Don't we all have to eat?

There are those who understand the big picture, and there are those that do not. Ending federal subsidy for companies that are pocketing (billions?) profit is just sensical, if not moral. These targetted companies are simply taking advantage of the taxpayer, it is wholly unethical for us to tolerate it further.

When these companies start hurting financially, and find themselves in need of a loan, I'm all up for giving them federal money. On loan. They should require nothing more than that.
 
+J.C. Nelson unfortunately you are not comparing apples to apples. Did you notice how Exxon doesn't state how much they EARN (i.e. revenue) per gallon of gasoline? You're comparing their declaration of profit (which is revenue minus expenses) with the government's revenue. They just are simply NOT the same kind of numbers.

Let's put it this way. The government may earn 48 cents per gallon, but given that our government runs it deficit, it can be said that its PROFIT per gallon is a negative number. Doesn't that make it sound like it sucks more? Ya know what a company would do if its revenue could produce a higher profit? (hint: look at the gas market. They're not cutting costs)

Does anybody have a number to match their "2 cents profit per gallon" with a total number of GALLONS they sold in 2010? And then compare that against their declared profit for 2010? Wouldn't that be (gasp) a real set of facts to talk about?
 
Hey +John Blanton gas prices are pretty high now. They've been pretty high over the last decade. Did the Bush administration cut the oil subsidies and we never heard of it? Or what caused those price spikes? If the subsidies are cut the only thing to suffer is the oil industry's bottom line. They'll make less money, and they're making tons of it already so who cares! Oh they might rise the price to recover that lost revenue, but you can always stop using oil. What's that? You can't? Oh too bad, the writing was on the wall for years now and you didn't switch to alternative fuels. Bo ho ho! That's tough for you. That's capitalism and the free market for you baby. Catch is free market only works well if you don't let them grab you by the b...s. People who have switched and are paying taxes might not want to help subsidize you. I sure wouldn't. Why should my tax money go to pay for people who, like you, make a bad decision. Pay for your own gas and don't bill me through taxes. What do you think this is some sort of liberal socialist society?? Are you nuts? ;)
 
+Craig Brunetti You've renewed my faith in humanity. I admittedly sat out a while hoping against hope that someone would point out the dishonest comparison between margin and revenue as numbers on the same scale.

+James Stilwell Subsidies going to vitally necessary industries that are not ludicrously harmful to the environment, and which have no chance of competing against the entrenched positions of those that are (even in a fantastic pure free market scenario because of collusion) are perfectly appropriate. In fact, they are the only leverage government has for steering private enterprise in a societally beneficial direction given constitutional limitations. Unless of course you prefer the rod to the carrot in the form of regulations and regulatory agencies, which are far more expensive to the taxpayer than subsidies to worthwhile (infrastructure), nascent (alternative energy), or costly but necessary (healthcare) enterprises.
 
To put it another way, if Exxon is only earning $0.07 per gallon of profit, what would that number be if they reduced executive pay and political donations, moved money out of international tax havens and actually reported it as income, and ratcheted down the hostile acquisitions?
 
Wait, +John Blanton, are you declaring that:
1) You spend an acceptable amount of money on gasoline for your work commute today, and
2) You consume gasoline to get to work, and therefore everybody else does, and must?

Or are you just worrying about, well, you? Not in that gas prices ARE higher, and not that gas prices will CONTINUE to get higher simply by the passage of time, but that by eliminating these unfair subsidies, YOU are going to be affected by some non-miniscule amount as compared to the economy of scale of recent gas prices increases?

I cannot believe a person can be that tunnel-visioned and selfish, you must mean something else. Give me hope.
 
+Gerardo Tasistro the award for the most inane time wasting post goes to you for putting words in my mouth. I said absolutely nothing about anyone in any way paying for my gasoline for any of my vehicles. Yes all our gasoline used is paid for in part by subsidies, but you didn't mention that did you? Of course you didn't. 
 
+Mark Shaner Indeed! Being thrifty and efficient used to be high values in this country - "Use it up, wear it out, make it do - or do without." I just don't understand people who brag about how INefficient their latest Urban Assault Vehicle is - what, they like wasting money?! Even if they're wealthy, isn't there something they'd rather spend money on than gasoline?
 
Oh the focus of comments switched on me. I must be selfish because removal of all oil/gas subsidies will only force the ceiling of gas prices much much higher then it already is. Removal of the subsidies in essence isn't a good idea in my opinion. It'll just force the poor to be poorer. You guys can call me whatever you want, just not late for dinner. I'm sure you all will just eat this up with a spoon!!
 
+Craig Brunetti right. Their revenues are huge. Their costs are almost as huge, hence the (relatively low) margin.
What do you think is an acceptable margin?
 
+John Blanton I'm flattered. Clearly I didn't say that. I thought a smart guy like you would figure out how taxes work. If you got a big SUV and now you can't afford the gas please don't ask others to chip in with their taxes for you.
 
+Craig Brunetti I guess I am an idiot. I don't understand how raising fuel prices is not also going to raise food prices.

Perhaps you can explain it to us all. Dazzle me with your intellect.
 
+Craig Brunetti Perhaps you misunderstand my post: I think we should remove all federal subsidies, including those for farmers, and allow the citizens, rich and poor, to keep more of the income for which they work.
 
Allow science and market forces to replace fossil fuels the way fossil fuels replaced whale oil. When the all knowing government chooses to subsidize one particular approach to "alternative" energy, they force other players in that industry whose solutions might well be more viable out of the business.
 
+John Blanton says "I must be selfish because removal of all oil/gas subsidies will only force the ceiling of gas prices much much higher then it already is.", but fails to explain why gas has rissen in the current presence of subsidies. Like I said John, the cut in subsidies will hurt the industry's bottom line and it will rise the price to compensate. But if you have an alternative (which clearly you don't) you can use it and stop buying so much gas. A drop in demand will mark a drop in price. That's the way the free market works. Remember? Capitalism? Adam Smith? Small government? Free market? Now if they have you by the b...s that's not the law's or the subsidy's issue. That's your issue. Deal with it.
 
+Mark Shaner amen to that, brother! ... if I were religious in any way...

Honestly this is what I hope to see happen, subsidy-revocation or not. I want to see gas prices rise, because I want to see our population weigh on a demand for better efficiency and cost-comparative alternatives. I've seen gas prices double (in what, 10-15 years?), now I drive a car that gets twice the mileage that I used to. Simple economics for me.

I am tired of hearing how dependent we are on foreign oil, as if Oil is the only thing we can use. We are the nation of diversity, and yet our energy supply is not, shame on us.
 
+Gerardo Tasistro ok I see where you're coming from now. I'm not asking anyone for help. My original comment was to the fact that the people in the video are cheering for higher gas prices. That just sounds dumb to me. I'm not going to scream for our govt. to do anything. I also don't drive a large suv. I drive a 2001 Toyota Corolla. I also own a 2002 suzuki suv Yeah they both still get good mileage but that's not my point. It's stupid to cheer for higher gas prices. Period. That's my point. 
 
I'm so proud to call Keith Ellison my Representative. ;)
 
+John Blanton I think higher gas prices are a great idea too!!! At long last we'll be paying the true prices of extraction, research, and environment damage. Then, when all those subsidies are gone, we'll see that alternative energy sources are not as expensive or cost prohibitive as they were said to be. Once again that's free market and small government for you. Let the players play it out on their own.
 
"Various branches of government collect 48.8c/gal times 386.5 million gallons per day. That's $188.6 million dollars per day. If we multiply by 365 days, we find that the government collects $68.84 billion dollars per year, just in gasoline tax. That comes down to $17.2 billion per quarter, which was nearly seven billion dollars more than Exxon earned. The government has little work to do but levy and collect the tax. They don't refine the oil, process it, or ship it. They merely tax it. Of course, we have roads to pay for, yes, but the simple fact of the matter is that the U.S. government profits more from gasoline than the largest oil company in the world."
http://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/Government-made-more-profit-on-gasoline-than-ExxonMobil-in-3Q/1715-470089-653.aspx
 
+John Blanton I always quote Machiavelli on this one, he says something very true in his "The Prince". It goes something like this: "conflicts are not evitable only delayable in ones own detriment". The context is in a more war like scenario, but the message is the same. The more you procrastinate on an issue the higher the price you pay in the long run. You can pay a high price for gas now or an even higher one in the future. You know what your alternatives and options are now, but that is an unknown in the future.
 
Ohhhh +John Blanton.

OK, lessgo, two weeks at 40 hours at minimum wage earns $580. At that rate, you're paying little tax, but let's call it $500. You claim half goes to gas for a 2001 Corolla, which gets between 27-31 mpg, but it's old so let's call it 25.

$500 buys 125 gallons of $4/gallon gas, which at 25 miles per gallon, means you drive 3,125 miles for two weeks of work commuting. That's 312 miles per day. For a minimum wage job. If you earn more than that, and/or take home more than that, then the story gets worse, you'd be putting even more miles per day for your job's travel time.

I'm having trouble accepting your side of the debate, John.
 
The arrogance on display here is fascinating.
 
+J.C. Nelson Shame! The simple fact of the matter is, that $17.2 billion per quarter tries to PAY FOR ROADS. How much does the federal government dish out per quarter on transportation construction and maintenance? Are we over or under?

You're choosing incomplete fact to backup a debate, it's just nonsensical.
 
ExxonMobil
Pretax income: $52 billion
Provision for income taxes (worldwide): $21.6 billion
Net income: $30.5 billion
Income tax rate: 45%
Exxon estimates its total worldwide tax bill for 2010 at $89 billion, including the provision for income taxes noted above. Most of that $89 billion total is sales and excise taxes. Of $10 billion in total taxes paid in the U.S., $3 billion is income tax.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/04/13/ge-exxon-walmart-apple-business-washington-corporate-taxes_slide_2.html
 
Pretax income: $19.8 billion
Provision for income taxes: $8.3 billion
Net income: $11.4 billion
Tax rate: 42%
Of the world's biggest companies, Big Oil pays the highest tax rates. Plus they get hit for a plethora of non-income taxes (think excise tax and value-added tax). Conoco's "other taxes" hit $16.8 billion last year.
 
Chevron
Pretax income: $32 billion
Provision for income taxes: $12.9 billion
Net income: $19.1 billion
Tax rate: 40%
 
Intel
Pretax income: $16 billion
Provision for income taxes: $4.6 billion
Net income: $11.5 billion
Tax rate: 28.6%
 
+J.C. Nelson I haven't been able to find figures on ExxonMobil's USA market share, but here in California they're less than 7%* of the state's gasoline market. Even if we figure that over the entire USA they're more than that - it makes NO sense to compare their profits against how much in gasoline taxes the federal government receives from the entire industry!

*Source: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/gasoline/market_share/index.html
 
+Gerardo Tasistro given what they pay in taxes, I'd say most of them. Given what I pay in fuel taxes, I'd like to see a few named after me.
 
+James Stilwell The government doesn't have to profess to be "all-knowing" in order to financially incentivize things that are objectively good for society and disincentivize things that aren't. That's your intellectually dishonest libertarian fearmonger side coming out. Government is (in theory) an elected body doing the will of the people. I'm sure you'll point out that the theory doesn't resemble the practice, but that's case in point for free market theory and libertarian philosophy in general.
 
No +James Stilwell, you're still an idiot.

First, eliminating a subsidy on fuel may or may not affect food prices. Some system (say, the current agriculture subsidy?) could compensate for that if it really wanted to, AND said compensation would be less than the money we're paying fuel companies for subsidies. No matter what, the government gets ahead in the game (unless you believe the BigOil would penalize us 2 cents for every 1 cent we removed in subsidy. They're evil, but they're not THAT kind of evil).

Second, given the fact our government is trying to tackle a huge annual budget deficit, what in your insanity makes lets you think that the money they'd save in eliminating subsidies (some of them, all of them, whatever) would get returned to the TAXPAYER? That's like eliminating an expense from your family budget and then not applying it to the balance you have on your credit card.

And I'm not making decisions for anybody. Mostly, I'm trying to help found the error in your ignorant responses, and they do not line up with the reality at hand. The fact that I'm hoping for events that force America to step it up is completely tangent.

Keep in mind, we're talking about a subsidy, for a market, that does not need our government's help. That's the real point. We're giving away free money to those who, according to their own healthy profit reports, overcharge us for energy, and hand their profits to the select few who happen to be shareholders. Such acts are unethical, they are simply unAmerican.
 
Uh oh, someone just said "unAmerican" again.
 
+J.C. Nelson I don't get your points about posting tax rates. And thank you for polluting the stream by placing each one in a separate comment, wow.

Are you trying to say "hey, look, these guys pay a LOT of taxes. They deserve to keep their subsidies!!" ?!?!?
 
Whale oil didn't have an intricate worldwide mesh of purchased legislatures or a military industrial complex to subsist on for well past its time. There were also few if any environmental factors involved in that switch. Fossil fuel dependency is being sustained by forces having little to do with science or supply-demand economics.
 
+Craig Brunetti However, his doing so has illustrated that the subsidies are a relative drop in the bucket that they wouldn't miss. ;)
 
+James Stilwell Yes, Keith. And me. And the rest of society who hopefully make up a majority over the crazies that think that the story of subsidies for Oil compare with that of subsidies for Food.
 
The federal government invested $58 billion in transportation improvements through the core federal transportation improvement programs during FY 2011, which began October 1, 2010 and ended September 30, 2011. This was the same amount of funding as was provided during FY 2010.

Federal investment in highway improvements in FY 2011 included $41.8 billion through the core highway program, the same as during FY 2010. Most federal highway investment is used to upgrade and maintain the nation's core highways, including the Interstate Highway System, and to repair and replace deficient bridges.

http://www.artba.org/about/faqs-transportation-general-public/faqs/#2
 
+Keith Childers Spend 30 minutes studying the whaling industry in the 18th and 19th century and you'll understand just how silly that statement is.
 
+James Stilwell Is the planet remaining inhabitable objectively good enough? I hear the fast approaching relativist libertarian drumbeat again.
 
+Furr B. True dat!

And to James, my god, maybe you're new to G+. It's pollution because he took one web page's content, AFTER LINKING IT, and split it up among several comments (when zero would've sufficed, and one could have listed them all).

Doing what he did is just a means to gain attention. Like using words in all CAPS.

Oh, wait, crap...
 
+J.C. Nelson would be great if they actually paid for them if not taxed. Do you think they would? Would you pay for your road out of your own free will?
 
+James Stilwell Do you really want to claim that the political and military influence of the 18th century whaling industry compares substantively to modern global fossil fuel interests? Who's being silly and dishonest?
 
+J.C. Nelson That $58bil is just transportation improvement. That does cover ALL of their costs. From the same page, there's at least one more that I read before I gave up on you again:

"The federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel currently generates about $1.75 billion of revenues per penny of tax. Of this total, $1.4 billion per penny of tax is deposited into the Highway Account and used to finance the federal highway program. The remaining $350 million per penny of tax is deposited into the Mass Transit Account and used to finance the federal public transportation program."

$350mil times 18.4 cents is 6.44billion. They gotta be hiding the other $4bil somewhere, right?
 
+Gerardo Tasistro I come from a family of farmers...been there, done that. Not only did we pay for the roads, we built them ourselves.
 
Keith, as of 8:40PM, I'm going to stop responding to Stilwell's comments. He's got nothing real to add here.
 
+Craig Brunetti give +James Stilwell a break will you. He doesn't want the big oil to pay taxes and he doesn't want to pay taxes either. Taxes that support transportation like you say. Let the federal highway system rott out. Who cares!!! After no highways are left who's going to use a car and oil anyways? Talk about lack of vision.
 
+J.C. Nelson good for you. Call the IRS and ask for your tax break. Others didn't do it your way so they pay taxes. It's a no brainer.
 
+Gerardo Tasistro You on the other hand have a vision, the true vision, for energy and economic policy which you're happy to enforce upon everyone else through force.
 
Because to a libertarian mere existence among other human beings entails paranoid fear.
 
Stilwell is a typical libertarian muckraker who fancies himself a clever gadfly style troll whose provocations elicit a response for his sociological study and intellectual judgment. I respond to him because honestly I find his species equally fascinating, particularly how one can be so wholly enamoured of an unworkable philosophy as to completely disregard objective reality.
 
And I you, James. Not even being sarcastic. Most libertarians run and hide or get nasty when someone argues back with meaningful points. You are my Moriarty, or I'm yours... haven't decided yet.
 
Not to potentially spoil the peacable disengagement by mutual admiration there, but sticking with an equally relatable media reference and contrasting in one important regard: I tend to consider the respective roles in the villain/hero dichotomy perfectly clear, and think of libertarian ideologues as being more the Khans deserving of MY wrath...incorporating into my chosen fanfic-analogy more of that crazy survivalist flavor...that seething anger at society...martyr complex against the horror of being expected to conform to societal dictates as price for remaining a part thereof.
 
Ricardo Montalban...the father of 25th century Libertarianism ;)
 
KHAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!

Admiration is a VERY strong word :-) 
 
I guess, if I could fight any celebrity, it would be #williamshatner.
(Had to get that in before bed)
 
Crikey +Anthony DeTommasi here I am trying to have a tender +Ted Lemon moment with the other side and you have to go and sop up what might well have been the primordial ooze of a political revolution. Imagine 100,000,000 progressitarians, armed to the teeth and chewing tobacco, marching on Washington to ask Obama nicely to please text us his response to our demands on our iPhones (if he's not too busy).

Great job man, you just ruined whatever tiny chance we had for survival as a nation. Ted has gone the way of Old Major, his noble dream laid bare, ground to dust beneath your cloven hooves...
 
Excuse my request, but please demand Transparency & also Fusion or Thorium Energy Generators running within 2 years.
Plus we're increasing our energy needs building new trains!
Thank you & I hope you have a good day :-)
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