During that interview on Sunday with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Harry Reid not only called for more tax hikes but stole a page from Mitt Romney and said Congress should close many tax loopholes. He and Stephanopoulos singled out the oil and gas industry by repeating the canard that it receives billions in “subsidies,” which are actually the same tax breaks as any other industry.
Here is a portion of the interview:
REID: The American people need to understand that it’s not as if we’ve done nothing for the debt. $2.6 trillion, $2.6 trillion already we’ve made in cuts. And all those cuts have come from non-defense programs. We need to keep our eye on the prize and continue doing something about spending, but I think that what we need to do is do some of the things that Mitt Romney talked about. He said there’s some low-hanging fruit; there are a lot of tax loopholes that should be closed. I agree with him. We haven’t done that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Like which ones?
REID: Well, oil subsidies. We — we have issues dealing with shipping jobs overseas. Why don’t we do some — fill some of these …
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think, if my numbers are correct, if you do the oil and gas subsidy, I think that might save you something like $25 billion over 10 years.
REID: Oh, no.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s going to extend the sequester by a couple months.
REID: It’s more than that, George. But — but let’s — let’s assume, because the debt ceiling doesn’t kick in until August, I believe that’s what we’ll have, but let’s add these together. Let’s say you’re right, it’s $30 billion. But let’s — jobs overseas, we can dial that however we want, because it’s a huge loss of revenue. Corporate jets, there are all kind of things that are low-hanging fruit that we …
Guess what, Harry, there is a bill over in the House that does just that: H.R. 254.
The bill repeals the tax break for so-called enhanced oil recovery and the one for producing oil and gas from marginal wells to begin with.
But it does so much more that Harry is sure to love and embrace. It repeals credit for alcohol fuel, biodiesel, and alternative fuel mixtures. It ends the tax credit for fuel cell vehicles. It ends the subsidy for plug-in electric vehicles. It terminates the credits for electricity produced form renewable resources, such as wind and solar.
It also calls for cutting the corporate income tax rate, which is among the highest in the world.
While Harry keeps harping on those oil and gas subsidies, the CBO reports that in 2011 the Department of Energy’s tax dodges and subsidies totaled $24 billion — $20.5 billion in tax preferences and $3.5 billion in funding. “Provisions aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy accounted for 78 percent of the budgetary cost of federal energy-related tax preferences in 2011,” the CBO reported.