The ‘ugly, ugly, ugly’ fiscal agreement reached by Congress and signed by President Obama this week—which managed to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, raise taxes on the working class and set up a new scenario for a repeated protracted battle over budget issues in just two months—was a big mess for most, but a big win for the fossil fuel industry.
Although Obama’s initial budget proposal called for ending 13 such tax breaks, to save $46 billion over 10 years, Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that that these subsidies—”that pad the profit margins of companies such as ExxonMobile and BP”—were left intact by the final deal.
Ending the costliest tax breaks for oil and gas companies would have raised tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Trimming just a handful of these breaks for the big five companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—would’ve raised $24 billion over the next decade.
But lobbyists for big oil, mining companies, railroads and US multinationals were able to preserve their tax breaks, the Sunlight Foundation reports.
The bill also extends through 2013 tax breaks for coal companies that expired at the end of 2011.
According to the Sunlight Foundation: “The coal mining industry has increased its campaign contributions to federal candidates in recent years, more than tripling its giving in the past four years to more than $12 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”
Among other corporate handouts included in the bill were $9 billion for off-shore financing loopholes, $1.6 billion for Goldman Sachs, and tax breaks for Hollywood, computer and pharmaceutical companies.
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