You want political theatre? I’LL show you political theatre


Tonight, starring as Iago: ExxonMobil Vice President Ken Cohen

This should be right up there in the annals of political chutzpah:

ExxonMobil, the biggest international oil company, accused the US administration and Congress of “political theatre” in targeting the industry with discriminatory tax proposals that are due to be promoted at a Senate panel on Thursday.
The “discriminatory tax proposals” that gullible FT correspondents Sheila McNulty and James Politi noted are calls for eliminating the generous tax subsidies that oil producers get.  McNulty and Politi — who do not quote a single supporter of subsidy reduction in the piece — argue that the 6% income deduction that oil producers get is somehow “discriminatory” because “other” domestic manufacturing income is deducted at 9%.  They neglect to mention that oil drilling is, you know, not manufacturing.
This is a John McEnroe momentExxonMobil is accusing others of political theatre?  You mean the ExxonMobil that continues to fund climate denialism to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars despite public pledges not to do so?  Or the ExxonMobil that has conducted a coordinated misinformation campaign about climate change?  Or the ExxonMobil that piously lectures the rest of us about the free market and then demands billions in taxpayer subsidies?
You couldn’t make this stuff up.

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Reader Comments

One Reply to “You want political theatre? I’LL show you political theatre”

  1. I think the claim that the proposals are “discriminatory” is that it only eliminates some of the tax breaks for the largest oil companies, leaving them in place for smaller firms, even though the primary beneficiaries of these subsidies are smaller companies. (Indeed, the most egregious oil subsidy — the percentage depletion allowance — is only available to smaller, non-integrated firms.) I also think it’s a fair argument that there shouldn’t be special treatment for manufacturing either, and there’s no reason to single out the oil folks. It should be eliminated across the board.

    FWIW, I support eliminating these subsidies and have blogged as much. (See here:
    Of course, I would get rid of all energy subsidies across the board, and enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax — a proposal ExxonMobil has, curiously enough, also endorsed.


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Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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