Obama and his War on Oil

Last night, President Obama made a special televised address to the nation to discuss the debt ceiling negotiations. And, yep, he attacked oil companies…again.

“Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get.”

This is not the first time (or the last—you can count on it) that the President has made oil companies a main target in the debt ceiling debate.

June 29, Press Conference: “And… if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship… I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up a tax break that no other business enjoys.  I don’t think that’s real radical.”

June 16, Weekly address: “I don’t think oil companies should keep getting special tax breaks when they’re making tens of billions in profits.”

April 26, Letter to Congress: “One of those steps [to address rising gas prices] is to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks to the oil and gas industry and invest that revenue into clean energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Although the President claims that oil and gas companies receive “tax breaks that no other business enjoys,” this is simply not true. The industry experiences deductions for ordinary and necessary business expenses that all industries enjoy. Click here for the entire in-depth analysis of the oil and gas industry tax structure.

Seemingly, it wouldn’t be a presidential speech for President Obama unless he was demonizing the oil and gas industry. This is the same industry that supports 9.2 million jobs in the United States. This number should appear familiar to President Obama, as 9.2 percent is the current unemployment rate. In fact, the oil and gas industry is to thank for 7.5 percent of U.S. GDP. The activities of independent oil and gas companies specifically supported 4 million of those jobs and contributed 4 percent to the nation’s GDP.

There is no way that President Obama is unaware of these numbers. In fact, I am sure he has more than one economic advisor pointing to states like North Dakota and Oklahoma, which have respective unemployment rates of 3.2% and 5.3%, and rely heavily on the oil and gas industry. There is clearly something else at play here—many would argue an ideological opposition to the industry. This is unacceptable: Our nation desperately needs a boost in jobs and economic growth and the oil and gas industry is a key to this growth. In the midst of increasing turbulence in the Middle East, our country desperately needs energy security. Tapping into our own abundant reserves of energy here at home is a crucial part of insulating ourselves from the political pressures of these countries.

Even at the small chance that President Obama is demonizing and targeting oil companies without full knowledge of the potential economic devastation of his actions, ignorance does not equal innocence—especially not if you are the President of the United States.