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Let’s Not Let The Facts Get In The Way

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Credit for this graphic goes to the New York Times

Lots of political theater going on today in Washington DC as Congress attacks the top five oil companies and threaten to take away their tax breaks for exploration and production. The companies are on the defensive, but not taking it lying down.

So, what’s the real story? Are oil companies the proximate cause of our national debt skyrocketing because they aren’t paying enough in taxes?

The New York Times included the graphic above, which I think speaks volumes. If you look at it, these companies that are being chastised so publicly are paying higher taxes than any other industry other than electric utilities.

Do they need the tax breaks? Obviously that is debatable – but as the chart shows, they are not underpaying taxes when they are paying at an effective tax rate of 33%.

My opinion is that this conversation goes to the viability of the whole tax code and the loop holes that have been granted to the squeakiest wheel or to the biggest campaign donors. It sure seems that things would be a lot fairer if we reformed the entire tax code and everyone paid their fair share.

Getting rid of the loop holes while lowering the rates would be stimulative to the economy and would bring in more money since the industries (and individuals) that are paying less than they should would have to pay their fair share.

It might also end these politically based crusades that make for good C-Span or spots on the nightly news, but don’t really move our country forward in terms of productive policy.

When the New York Times and I are on the same page, you really need to question the motives of those on the attack.


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Mark