Since the Obama administration came into office, it has been unsuccessfully trying to wrangle conservative congressmen into cutting the $4 billion in subsidies that are doled out every year to oil companies. Time and time again, Obama and the Democrats have proposed cuts to these unwarranted taxpayer giveaways, only to be rebuffed every time.
During a town hall in Prescott, Arizona, yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recited a list of subsidies that he would like to eliminate from the federal budget, including those for ethanol and sugar. He failed to put oil subsidies on the list, but when challenged by a constituent, he conceded “you make a very good point” and said that he’s “for looking at everything”:
He called for a moratorium on federal regulations, a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, a payroll tax holiday, a tax holiday for corporations that bring their money back to the U.S. and use it, and simplification of the tax code that gets rid of subsidies on products such as ethanol and sugar.
Two citizens said he should add oil subsidies to that list. “You make a very good point,” he told one of them. “I’m for looking at everything,” except home loan mortgage deductions.
This is not the first time that McCain’s constituents have voiced displeasure at his failure to include oil subsidies on the list of items he’d like to see on the chopping block. As Marie Diamond noted, during a town hall in Tuscon earlier this month, “someone shouted ‘oil!’ when [McCain] failed to include it in his list of subsidies that should be ended.” As recently as May, McCain voted with the vast majority of his Senate GOP caucus to preserve oil subsidies, despite having “expressed openness to the bill” that would have ended them.
Several other Republicans have reacted to outrage over oil subsidies at their town halls by simply denying that those subsidies exist at all. At least McCain is willing to admit that they’re real, but it’d be even better if he would put his money where his mouth is and work to end them.