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Facing town hall constituents angry about oil subsidies, GOP rep. Cravaack denies that they even exist

By Climate Guest Contributor  

"Facing town hall constituents angry about oil subsidies, GOP rep. Cravaack denies that they even exist"

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As ThinkProgress has been documenting, a number of GOP lawmakers, when faced with their constituents’ anger over oil subsidies, have outright denied that these special tax breaks and expenditures even exist. Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) both denied the existence of oil subsidies, to the shock of their constituents.

TP has the story of another “oil subsidy denier.”

At a town hall held this past Monday posted on Youtube, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) came face to face with his constituents’ anger over these special favors for the oil industry. At one point, a man who was shocked that Cravaack was advocating for privatizing Medicare to reduce the deficit asked him why the congressman continues to support wasteful spending like offering subsidies for Big Oil.

Cravaack began a rambling response where he dodged the question and started advocating for increased domestic oil drilling. While he did this, constituents interjected to demand to know why Congress continues to subsidize oil companies. Eventually, the congressman simply denied that they even existed:

CONSTITUENT: I understand we have to balance the budget. But why are you starting to balance the budget for the lowest working class? [...] What about oil companies? [inaudible] billion you gave them last quarter. Are you going to vote to take their subsidy away?
(audience applauses)

CRAVAACK: Let’s talk about the big, I know I get hit by this a lot, Big Oil. Making big profits, right? The reason why Big Oil is making big profits is because we’re paying big money at the pump. That’s why they’re making profits -

CONSTITUENT: No, it’s because you’re subsidising them!

ANOTHER CONSTITUENT: We are, of course paying -

ANOTHER CONSTITUENT: Why are you changing the subject?!

ANOTHER CONSTITUENT: How much do we subsidize them?!

CRAVAACK: Well, they have a lower tax rate, and they’re not really subsidized.

Watch it:

At another point, Cravaack said that we need more drilling here in the United States. While this did draw some applause from the audience, one constituent retorted, “It worked in the Gulf of Mexico!” Watch it:

Actually, the oil industry gets nearly $7 billion a year in subsidies, which are made up of a variety of special tax breaks and tax expenditures. Additionally, there is little evidence that additional domestic drilling in the United States would lower prices in the near-term.

-Zaid Jilani, in a ThinkProgress cross-post

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7 Responses to Facing town hall constituents angry about oil subsidies, GOP rep. Cravaack denies that they even exist

  1. Jim says:

    This message “there are no subsidies, only ordinary tax policies that apply to every business” is orchestrated and pushed hard by API.

  2. David Miller says:

    Indeed. theoildrum.com had a post within the last couple of weeks to this very effect, stating very plainly that they only got breaks that every other business gets.

    The link in the OP explaining the subsidies was well written.

  3. Barry says:

    Is there any fact about oil that the GOP doesn’t feel that it is OK to openly lie about to the American people these days?

    Here a short list of their current oil lies:

    – burning oil doesn’t cause our climate to change

    – billions in special tax breaks don’t exist

    – the most profitable industry in history that makes billions a day stop producing products if we don’t bribe them with corporate welfare

    – if we remove environmental safeguards on domestic drilling the price at the pump will fall noticeably

    – Americans want Medicare cut but not corporate welfare for Big Oil

    I’m on the edge of my seat wondering just what they will come up with next. Hard to top that list of whoppers. Then again the American public just handed them the keys to the House…so I’m sure the GOP feel safe to keep making up more “facts” about Big Oil and expecting the voters to swallow them.

  4. scas says:

    What a snake. Sad to say, this man epitomizes the typical politician.

  5. Black says:

    The current GOP redistricting plan works Really Hard to create a district where Cravaak might actually get re-elected, since he’s unlikely to be able to hold the district as is.

    As usual, the courts are going to wind up doing the redistricting because the politicians can’t keep their party’s self-interest out of it.

  6. Rick Covert says:

    Which 1 of those tax subsidies that don’t exist should I start with? We could begin with the oil depletion allowance costing taxpayers $4 billion dollars annually. Then you can go to the oil field drilling equipment depreciation tax credits. Thanks for playing congressman!

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s all very reminiscent of that famous story of the Bushite (I’ve heard that it was Rove) who stated that ordinary people were part of a ‘reality-based’ world, but the elect, like himself, (naturally), created reality as they went along. Naturally, sane people imagined this to be some playful braggadocio, self-mockingly poking fun at the neo-conservative’ delusions of omnipotence and omniscience. But, of course, he wasn’t joking. The functionaries and apparatchiki of the US elite have come, over generations, to see themselves as demi-gods. They can destroy entire countries, subvert others, and ruin yet more through economic terrorism. They control the UN like a rabble of flunkies. They can flood the world with increasingly worthless dollars, then blame the resulting chaos on the Chinese. And all the while they demand the world’s obedience and worship as moral paragons, and they receive it. There is not a figure in political life in Australia, save a brave and vilified few, who would not crawl, naked, over broken glass to kiss the posterior of any US potentate, no matter how minor. Is it any wonder that the ability to create reality, then live in, has turned their minds?