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TX Rep Barton, Recipient of Big Oil Donations, Continues to Defend Oil Industry “Corp. Welfare”

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Joe Barton, majority Head of the House Energy Committee, continues to defend taxpayer paid corporate welfare for hugely profitable oil companies. Of course, Barton, R-TX, receives huge donations from the oil industry so its only natural for a bought-and-paid for legislator would defend his main fund raising constituency against the American public or the public’s best interests.

Given that 75% of Congress’s time is spent on fund raising for re-election, again I have to ask: is Representative Barton’s defense of corporate welfare for the hugely profitable oil industry really based on what is best for the nation or on his re-election funding?

According to a GreenScissors2010

“Over just the next five years taxpayers can conservatively save more than $31 billion by eliminating just a few of the generous subsidies the oil and gas industry enjoys.”

The report goes on to state that in 2010,

ExxonMobil recorded a 38 percent increase in profit from a year earlier to $6.3 billion, Shell posted a 49 percent increase to $4.9 billion, and Chevron saw its profit more than double to $4.6 billion.

The increased gas prices, as a result of unrest in the Middle East and speculation, will only see these profits skyrocket in 2011 and into 2012 unless calm returns to the Mid-East and/or market makers see an increased supply decreasing their positions. Moreover, oil prices are a function of global markets, not a function of one specific country’s output, making Barton’s arguments spurious and more clearly a function of his own re-election fundraising aspirations. The dialogue being put forth by legislators such as Barton is not only false, it’s downright misleading.

The U.S. taxpayer does not need to nor should it continue to support corporate welfare for a highly profitable legacy oil industry. As the libertarian Cato Institute would say, if a company – or industry – cannot make it on its own without taxpayer “welfare” support, it should not be business. A truly “free” market depends upon a level playing field, not one slanting towards protection and taxpayer financial support of old, highly profitable industries.

Obviously, Joe Barton doesn’t believe in the kind of “creative destruction” that the Cato Institute advocates…or that the rest of us voting Americans believe is necessary to balance the budget or create new, competitive industries.

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Written by Valerie Curl

March 19, 2011 at 8:14 AM

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