ExxonMobil, Good Citizen

The Obama administration has devoted more energy to demonizing the oil and gas industry than just about anything else over the last three years. It has done this partly to deflect blame for its own lousy performance on the economy in general and energy costs in particular, and partly to justify transferring wealth from taxpayers to its cronies and supporters in the “green” energy sector. In response to the administration’s attacks, ExxonMobil has put out a lot of good data in its Perspectives blog. Here, ExxonMobil points out some of its contributions to the American economy:

Last year, while ExxonMobil’s operating earnings in the U.S. were $9.6 billion, our total contribution to the U.S. economy was $72 billion. That is how much ExxonMobil spent in the United States on things like taxes, salaries, returns to our investors and money paid to other businesses and industries to keep our U.S. operations running.

In other words, for every dollar we earned in the U.S., we contributed seven more dollars to the U.S. economy – to both governments and individual Americans.

This chart summarizes ExxonMobil’s contributions:

It is noteworthy that, as ExxonMobil has pointed out elsewhere, the company pays more in taxes in the U.S. than it earns on its U.S. operations.

Currently, the administration is campaigning to eliminate oil and gas “subsidies.” The first question is what this means; when liberals talk about “subsidies” in this context, they usually mean the same routine tax deductions that are available to businesses generally. To the extent that there may be any actual subsidies, they are extremely minor. So, by all means, let’s do away with them, along with subsidies for all other types of energy. Let’s allow energy technologies to compete in the marketplace on their own merits. What would the effect of eliminating all energy subsidies be? Not, I am afraid, what the Obama administration has in mind. This is a slide from my Cronyism 101 presentation:

The administration demonizes disfavored American citizens, companies and industries as a tactic to increase its own political power, and slide money to its cronies and supporters. In the long term, this may be the most destructive legacy of the Obama administration.

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