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Big Oil does not deserve more money from gov’t

TimesLedger Newspapers

On March 29, Republicans in the U.S. Senate calling the bill a political stunt, blocked legislation to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks for the biggest U.S. oil companies. A last-minute entreaty by President Barack Obama was not enough to convince senators to strip the oil and gas industry of tax incentives.

The “Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies” bill failed to advance by a vote of 51-47. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle.

“With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. “I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers, who are having a tough enough time paying their bills and filling up their tanks.”

Senate Democrats, mostly from oil-rich states, were not supportive of the legislation. They included Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.). Voting with the Democrats was Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Obama had argued the tax breaks were more than Americans could afford.

“Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profit. Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour,” he said, citing an analysis showing that the big companies pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits every time the price of gasoline goes up by 1 cent.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would have cut billions of dollars in tax breaks for the “big five” oil companies: ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell.

Same old, same old: Republicans represent their benefactors, such as big oil, the mega wealthy and corporations (“Supreme Court people”), while the Democrats represent the American people (“real people”).

What boggles the mind is how any middle-class American could be so hoodwinked as to vote against their best interests. Perhaps they believe that voting so would somehow make them a member of the 99 percent.

They dream on while they get stepped on. Ah, to dream.

Joanna Livingstone

Bayside

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