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Laughable: ExxonMobil Tries to Shout Down Efforts to Cut Their Welfare Checks

2 min. read

It appears that for ExxonMobil, earning enormous profits, quarter after quarter ($10.7 billion in the 2nd quarter of 2011 alone), isn’t sufficient.  In addition to their jaw-dropping profits, ExxonMobil also is fighting hard to ensure that it doesn’t get kicked off the dole.

This past Thursday, for instance, ExxonMobil’s vice president for public and government affairs, Ken Cohen, argued at ExxonMobil’s Perspectives blog that efforts to end oil industry welfare checks are “short-sighted” “political pandering.” According to Mr. Cohen:

Some members of both the House and Senate recently sent letters to the committee asking to eliminate what they’ve falsely labeled as “oil subsidies for the five largest, most profitable private oil companies in the world.”

I’ve addressed this blatantly false claim so many times, but it still bears repeating: What they call “subsidies” are legitimate provisions of the U.S. tax code that apply to businesses and industries outside of our own.

Actually, what’s “blatantly false” here is Mr. Cohen’s entire, laughable argument. That includes a wildly fallacious graphic provided by the oil industry’s lobbying arm, the American Petroleum Institute, claiming that removing unneeded, absurd, century-old subsidies to the super-profitable oil industry would result in a net loss of 48,000 jobs and 700,000 barrels per day of oil and natural gas equivalent production by 2020, instead of a net gain of 1.1 million jobs and 4 million barrels per day worth of oil and natural gas, respectively.

These numbers, of course, have absolutely zero basis in reality. In fact, we know that the oil industry uses “fuzzy math” and that their numbers are wildly inflated. It turns out, for instance, that the oil industry’s claim to employ 9.2 million people is off by a factor of four, “that there are actually only 2.2 million oil and gas industry jobs in the United States--and 40% of all these are actually minimum wage jobs at gas stations.”  With regard to oil production, let’s just say that it’s hard to take seriously a claim that a company making $10.7 billion in profit in one quarter will be decimated by cuts in government welfare payments that have long since outlived any usefulness they might once have had.  For small government advocates and deficit hawks, kicking dirty energy off welfare is a no brainer.