As Exxon pays zero taxes, Fox host defends Big Oil subsidies

Conservatives want deep cuts to programs for Main Street Americans like the Pell Grant and Head Start, claiming that they are necessary to rein in the budget deficit. Yet at the same time, House Republicans voted unanimously to protect taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil, even with major oil companies like Exxon paying absolutely nothing in federal corporate income taxes in 2009.  Think Progress has the story

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) appeared on Fox Business Network yesterday and criticized the industry’s subsidies, asking why we they need billions of dollars a year from taxpayers. Host Eric Bolling attacked Garamendi for his criticism, saying that oil companies are paying the most taxes in the world and that their profit margins aren’t very high:

GARAMENDI: The wealthiest industry in the entire world, the oil industry “¦ They’re going to see extraordinary profits yet about 12 billion dollars a year is used to subsidize the oil industry.

BOLLING: Sir do you know who’s paying the most taxes in the world? Do you know who’s paying the most taxes right now in America? Those oil companies you’re pointing the finger at. They’re paying taxes on the profits. Their profit margins aren’t high. By the way, they’re also paying royalties to be able to drill on the land.

GARAMENDI: So given all of that why do we subsidize them?

Watch it:

The U.S. federal corporate income tax rate of oil giant Exxon Mobil in 2009 was effectively zero. And its profits were far from low. In 2008, it was the world’s most profitable company; in 2009, it made $19 billion in profits.

— A TP cross-post.

18 Responses to As Exxon pays zero taxes, Fox host defends Big Oil subsidies

  1. TomG says:

    Profits margins aren’t that high?
    Maybe Exxon Mobile should get out of oil and get into a business where they can make some real money!
    Yeah right…

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    People like Bolling are not giving “opinions”, but are walking infomercials for the oil companies. There should be a television media trade association that would cite and censure the obvious distortions of facts.

  3. BBHY says:

    I thought these people harp on endlessly about how government has to strictly follow the constitution.

    Where exactly in the constitution does it say that the government is responsible to ensure high corporate profits?

  4. CW says:

    Maybe a “lying on national TV” tax or fine would be more effective than a price on emissions.

  5. Karmel Korn says:

    General Electric also doesn’t pay taxes

  6. Some European says:

    Maybe Obama should come out with a statement of this sort: “Just like Russia has always subsidized their biggest companies with taxpayer money, I want to subsidize our oil industry with more taxpayer money. We shouldn’t let the free market reign like in a jungle. Instead, I want this government to be strong and to steer the market by giving huge subsidies and tax breaks to our oil companies. I think that’s the way forward comrads! Together we will make this Union more prosperous through our collective sacrifice!” That should be enough to get the Tea Party march to Washington demanding an end to all oil subsidies…
    Clearly, you can’t be smart and support the Tea Party at the same time. You just can’t. I think this budget saga is conclusive proof of how easily these poor people are manipulated.

  7. Brad Pierce says:

    Yes, General Electric doesn’t pay taxes, but Exxon-Mobil does pay taxes, just not to the US.

  8. snoglydox says:

    I have read that the government gives about 36 billion in subsidies to the oil industry, and the oil industry uses about 10% of that money on lobbyists to keep the subsidies; if the government stopped paying the subsidies, the lobbyist would be out of a job.

  9. Steve says:

    The only other business model with a higher profit margin that I can think of is bank robbing.

  10. OregonStream says:

    The profit margin may not be extreme, but it seems that their volumes are such that they can make huge profits even when margins are a little tight. Given that, they clearly don’t need help. But maybe what they’re really trying to avoid, to the limited extent that they consider the longer-term, is losing volume as production costs rise and people consume less. Keeping those costs artificially low with subsidies could be a good way of keeping the party going longer. That is, until supply-demand situation hits the fan and triggers a new wave of sustainable reduction. So far, I’ve seen some complaining about gas prices around here, but still lots of driving in big SUVs.

  11. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Some European #6. Good thinking! ME

  12. Joe says:

    Can someone explain to me why corporations should pay any taxes? Corporations are peces of paper. Those profits made by public corps are distributed, in many cases to shareholders. People pay taxes, no matter what. Eliminate corp taxes and watch the economy produce jobs (which create more taxpayers who pay taxes on income and the stuff they buy) and grow because businesses can spend more on employees and capital expenditures.

  13. Bill W says:

    You know, Joe (at #12, not Joe Romm), I might be willing to agree with eliminating corporate taxes…. if, and only if, part of the deal is also eliminating corporate personhood and banning all corporate spending on elections and lobbying.

    Until that happens, I think corporations need to pay their fair share for all the infrastructure they use.

  14. CW says:

    @#12: Do you think corporations should have it both ways? If we’re allowing corporations to be people under the law (i.e. they have rights and privileges, can lobby, and can now spend to influence elections), then they have to pay taxes just like people do. If we think they’re just “pieces of paper”, then they shouldn’t be allowed to lobby, spend on elections or have certain rights and privileges like people, right?

    Or maybe you think companies should be “pieces of paper” when it comes to paying taxes (and so pay none) but that they should somehow still be able to be people under the law as well when it comes to lobbying, influencing elections and so on?

  15. Villabolo says:

    @8 snoglydox:

    “I have read that the government gives about 36 billion in subsidies to the oil industry, and the oil industry uses about 10% of that money on lobbyists to keep the subsidies; if the government stopped paying the subsidies, the lobbyist would be out of a job.”

    I’ve heard its closer to $50 billion for gas and oil. It’s interesting to know that 10% of their subsidies is spent on lobbying. Could you provide me a link?

    As far as I’m concerned, all lobbying should be banned.

  16. question says:

    I’d agree with Bill W. #13, except that I’d add that I’d eliminate the corporate veil. If a corporation isn’t a person then the officers and board should be personally responsible for civil liability and criminal conduct by the corporation…

    I think that would be a fair trade! No lobbying, influencing elections or deflecting liability and in exchange no taxes… want to see how many leaders of industry really go for it?

  17. Chris (from Vancouver) says:

    In the Canadian election campaign today, the NDP (the third party socialists whom I always vote for) released their party platform. It includes eliminating the $2B yearly subsidy to the oil companies. And raising the corporate tax rate back to 19.5%.

    The NDP will not win the election, but their policies sometimes make into policy, especially during minority governments. I am not expecting the elimination of the oil subsidy considering the current PM is from Alberta.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Whenever I see a Fox News Ltd mugging of the facts, or one from Murdoch’s Australian stable (Augean), I’m reminded of the advice proffered by an unfortunately rather successful (in that he seized power, all politics is often about)German politician of the 1930s. He recommended that, when lying, the liar had better be ambitious, that the bigger the lie the more likely it was to be believed, as the common folk, who rarely lied themselves and often suffered pangs of conscience for so doing, would not believe that anybody possessed the audacity to treat the truth with such contempt. Of course, in halcyon days, lying in public life or in the ‘Free Press’ was frowned upon-today it is ubiquitous and almost mandatory.