Only Nixon Could Go To China

This, something pretty much every liberal the last few decades has proposed, will be hailed as courage:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan called for ending oil subsidies Thursday, further complicating Republican efforts to stay on message about rising gas prices.

The Wisconsin Republican told constituents at a Waterford, Wis., town hall meeting that he agreed that federal oil subsidies ought to end.

“We’re talking about reforming the safety net, the welfare system; we also want to get rid of corporate welfare. And corporate welfare goes to agribusiness companies, energy companies, financial services companies, so we propose to repeal all that,” Ryan said in response to a question about oil subsidies.

A video of Ryan’s town hall meeting was circulated by Think Progress, a blog run by the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund.

In a statement to POLITICO, Ryan’s office said the House-passed budget resolution “clearly states that as part of an overall corporate tax reform, tax loopholes and deductions for all corporations should be scaled back or eliminated entirely. That obviously includes oil companies. Elsewhere, we state that subsidies for all energy companies need to be reduced or eliminated so that we can get government out of the business of picking winners and losers in the market.”

Ryan’s comments come as Republicans are trying to quell the political furor caused when House Speaker John Boehner left the door open to hiking taxes on oil and gas companies, telling ABC News Monday that Congress “certainly oughta take a look at it.”

Democrats quickly pounced on the opportunity, issuing statements commending Boehner for seeing the light on the issue.

Welcome aboard.

As a side note, every time I get frustrated with Obama and some of the things he is doing that I adamantly disagree with, I usually will pop off at the mouth here on the blog, and then a short while later cool down and realize the environment he is operating in. Only in our truly screwed up times could Ryan suggesting we end subsidies to oil be somehow considered courageous. Oil companies are wildly profitable, will remain so, all the while creating catastrophic disasters to our environment, and doing so producing a product we should be discouraging and will eventually be replaced. In no sane world would they ever be subsidized- it’s simply insane. And smarter folks have been pointing this out for quite some time, and are simply ignored.

But now that a Republican has suggested it, I guess it is “serious” enough that something might happen.






40 replies
  1. 1
    Linnaeus says:

    Maybe Ryan and the rest of the Republicans are serious about this, but it’s hard for me not to overlook the context in which he’s saying this: the GOP is starting to catch some heat for their efforts to subvert Medicare, the public is increasing aware of what the Republicans are up to, and so they need an issue that makes them look fair.

  2. 2
    Suffern ACE says:

    Gee all those “tax loopholes” and whatnot were rather vaguely defined in the plan, while the medicare voucher system for those under 55 was rather explicit. How bout you gain my trust by closing those loopholes and renegotiating those leases first, then we’ll entertain that entitlement reform.

  3. 3
    Bob Loblaw says:

    It seems a reasonable trade, I suppose, ending (many? if not all, perhaps?) fossil fuel subsidies for expanded offshore drilling rights.

    Because that’ll be the Republicans’ asking price. At minimum. Hooray democracy.

  4. 4
    Jeffro says:

    They’re only suggesting it so that they can
    a) pull it back to a $1B reduction, chump change
    b) trade it for Ryan’s trillion-dollar reverse Robin Hood plan

    And also c) a little PR value, especially in the Village

  5. 5
    Cat Lady says:

    we propose to repeal all that,” Ryan said

    Who’s “we”, if it doesn’t include teh Orange Man?

  6. 6
    cat48 says:

    Sadly, Boehner’s aide said that Boehner only told the interviewer that b/c he wasn’t going to be caught defending the oil companies while gas was so high. He told Obama no, not really going to happening. It will be interesting to see if “courageous” Ryan does the same thing. If he does, an ad should be ran against these idiots/liars.

    Also, the FinReg Bill is not funded or something, so the speculators are not being regulated. Does anyone know about this?

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    I actually had a republican tell me she thought we should repeal subsidies to oil companies, but only if they could make Democrats give up something they want.

    That is, she approved of the policy, wanted it to pass, but still thought that it should be used to strongarm democrats.

  8. 8
    BOSS BITCH says:

    I don’t believe him. I don’t believe anything any of them say. I’d bet money that when show time comes they will have some excuse not to cut the subsidies. Something lame like Nancy Harry or Obama said something “partisan” or the price of gas suspiciously goes down. Some lie their supporters will eat up.

  9. 9
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Cat Lady: Is it in that bill that just passed? Don’t think it is. It’s the sort of proposal I’d make to a playmate of the month. She might say yes, but most likely not. I guess I’d get credit from folks for asking. Not often that playmates fall for 40 year old gay men, but I’m a courageous one.

  10. 10
    cathyx says:

    Ending oil subsidies will never happen. They have way too much power over congress.

  11. 11
    danimal says:

    Now it’s time for Democrats to show courage by privatizing Medicare, out-sourcing public sector jobs to China and India, deporting all undocumented immigrants and selling off our national parks.

    It’s the only way to show we’re serious.

  12. 12
    General Stuck says:

    As a side note, every time I get frustrated with Obama and some of the things he is doing that I adamantly disagree with, I usually will pop off at the mouth here on the blog

    Nah, really?, hadn’t noticed/

    And it might be worth noting how utterly insane it is to even be discussing billions of dollars worth of taxpayer subsidies that have for years been padding the wallets of the most profitable industry in the history of mankind.

    An industry that does it’s business in near absence of the characteristics that could even remotely be considered part of a free market model. Operating in a near monopolistic arena concocted by a handful of giant corps and mostly state owned, autocrat run oil producing nations. The motherfuckers have the entire system under ownership of one degree or another. Cradle to grave. oil well to gas pump and station. And we have been giving them party money with taxpayer dollars. A definition of insanity.

    And folks here laughed at me in 2008 when I predicted that if the dems won control of the government, that gas prices would come down and be stable at around 2.70 a gallon as long as that was the case. No matter so much on supply and demand, or whether some ME oil country was being unstable, or gulf hurricanes, or oil spills would cause it to change much.

    UNTIL, the wingnuts in America won back control of one branch of government, and therefore held a veto to any libtard tampering with the forces of commerce and flow of gas to our tanks. They did win, and now every time a two bit dictator gets protested, or stumps his toe, we get panic speculation just like in 2008, and four dollar a gallon gasoline.

  13. 13
    map106 says:

    @Suffern ACE: You go girl/guy.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    I will try to make Cole see the bright side of things.

    There is real popular pushback against the policies of tax cuts for the rich and needless pain and death for the rest. They will try to wriggle out of their promises, perhaps successfully so, but GOP office holders see the need to respond substantively to what they are hearing from the actual people.

    Did you see the, admittedly compromised and sometimes corrupt, Democrats backpeddling and conceding like this to the Teabaggers? A little, but not nearly so much, because the Teabaggers were a faked up astroturf movement, at least in terms of making uniform and coherent demands. They posed much less threat to Democratic office holders’ jobs.

    We need a name for our revolution. It started in WI, so how about ‘the cheesehead revolution’? ‘Wisco chili mac attack’?

    Edit: Now to join Cole in whining. What is sad is that the average angry person blasting the GOPers at the townhalls puts most of the mealy mouthed centrist Democrats to shame, both in substance and style.

  15. 15
    Tsulagi says:

    will be hailed as courage

    Don’t forget bracing!

    Oil subsidies ending? Pushed along by the Rs? Yeah, right…

    Ryan’s comments come as Republicans are trying to quell the political furor caused when House Speaker John Boehner left the door open to hiking taxes on oil and gas companies, telling ABC News Monday that Congress “certainly oughta take a look at it.”

    3…2…1…

    Boehner’s office and other top Republicans quickly tried to get back on message, saying they aren’t interested in eliminating the tax breaks — which they argue would lead to higher gas prices because companies would just pass on their higher costs to consumers.

    That orange streak you saw was Boehner moonwalking that one back as quick as he could. Ryan will do the same.

  16. 16
    AxelFoley says:

    As a side note, every time I get frustrated with Obama and some of the things he is doing that I adamantly disagree with, I usually will pop off at the mouth here on the blog, and then a short while later cool down and realize the environment he is operating in.

    And I’m gonna point this out to you the next time you do it, young man.

  17. 17
    gex says:

    Shorter right wing: left wing people and ideas don’t count.

  18. 18
    Daddy-O says:

    Paul Ryan is a goddamned fucking liar.

    They already passed their budget. It had NOTHING in it for oil subsidies or corporate welfare. It was FAMOUS for that.

    If he actually strips oil subsidies from this budget or the next, I might faint dead away. He’s just scared shitless at these Town Hall events, facing the populace.

  19. 19
    gex says:

    @MikeJ: They are in a war against the other. They are tribal. And they need to always inflict pain.

  20. 20
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Daddy-O: And the people he is talking to will never be told that fact. But will be told how bold he is for proposing it.

  21. 21
    bcinaz says:

    Paul Ryan is blowing smoke and this will never happen. How many fossil fuel lobbyists will be crawling all over this guy before he even gets back to his office? Republicans would never actually go through with any proposal to level the playing field, close the loopholes, enforce offshore banking rules, deny government contracts to companies moving jobs overseas. Never. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    @bcinaz:

    How many fossil fuel lobbyists will be crawling all over this guy before he even gets back to his office?

    None. They know as well as we do he doesn’t have the huevos to do it. Why would they bother him?

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    But what is prompting these “slips of the tongue”? Can they actually be catching some heat from the populace?

    Of course they say one thing and do another; but maybe people are angry enough to monitor that for a change.

  24. 24
    danimal says:

    Oh, they’ll pass something that looks like it is limiting subsidies to oil companies. Big Oil will even complain about the hardships they must undergo.

    The bill will have the solidity of Swiss Cheese, the weight of a marshmallow and will be written by oil company lobbyists, but they’ll pass something.

  25. 25
    exxon-mobil says:

    Exxon-Mobil 1st quarter profit: $10.7 billion.

  26. 26
    Ed Drone says:

    Congressman Ryan, welcome to the club!

    Now, to paraphrase all the John Birthers out there,

    WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?

    Ed

  27. 27

    John, the nature of our simple-minded, two-sided political conversation is that only those who gain from a political side have the cover to criticize it.

    That’s why only Bill Clinton could politically call for welfare cuts.

    And that’s why only a politician like Ryan can call for the end of oil company subsidies.

    (All caveats apply of course: this only matters if Ryan/The Republicans/Tea Party is/are serious and not simply putting this out there to distract from the conversation.)

  28. 28
    Buffalo Rude says:

    Ryan walk back in 5…4…3…

  29. 29
    Arundel says:

    I’m sure it’s been mentioned around here.. but the current issue of National Review with a color illustration of Paul Ryan as FDR- “Ryan’s New Deal”- really takes the ..some sort of fucking Satanic wedding cake. Apparently with delightful endorsements from Ramesh Ponnuru and Reihan Salam, two of the worst, most scummily dishonest writers in the world.

    Just so grotesque. Is the right flaunting its moral and intellectual bankruptcy these days? Haha, I know- silly question.

    http://nrd.nationalreview.com/

  30. 30

    Is the right flaunting its moral and intellectual bankruptcy these days?

    Feature. Not bug.

  31. 31
    Mike says:

    @jl: “We need a name for our revolution. It started in WI, so how about ‘the cheesehead revolution’? ‘Wisco chili mac attack’?”

    I am personally fond of naming it the Solidarity Movement.

  32. 32
    spanielboy says:

    It is easy to pick on an industry that is not in your own state. How does Ryan feel about the ending of farm subsidies?

    What will he say about that? What will his constiuents have to say about that?

  33. 33
    MaryQ says:

    Imagining Sully tomorrow:
    “Ryan goes where Obama did not have the courage to go>
    Why has Obama not ended subsidies for oil companies? He has once again put his personal gain before the health of the nation. Thank God for Paul Ryan and his courage. There is hope for Oakeshottian Conservatism after all. Reagan is looking down from Heaven, pleased at what He created.”

  34. 34
    MaximusNYC says:

    Note that Ryan said, “we state that subsidies for all energy companies need to be reduced or eliminated so that we can get government out of the business of picking winners and losers in the market.”

    This means no support for alternative energy. The US wind and solar industries will have their legs kicked out from under them, and the Germans and the Chinese will sew up those markets completely.

  35. 35
    Jasper says:

    If this was a sane world, the $4 billion in tax subsidies would start the conversation. We’d also need to cover the costs of the ME wars, the permanent occupation of Iraq, and military outposts all over the globe that make the international oil business possible. Plus the horrific externalities associated with pollution, spills, etc.

    We don’t need to nationalize the oil companies, but they should be run as utilities, heavily regulated, with a very low, but very safe, level of profitability – just right to pay dividends to old ladies and pension funds. By pretending they are “free market” operations, we just encourage behavior that in the long run is catastrophic to our national interests.

  36. 36
    KCinDC says:

    What MaximusNYC said. Also: “as part of an overall corporate tax reform, tax loopholes and deductions for all corporations should be scaled back or eliminated entirely.” Don’t you think “overall reform” means slashing corporate taxes or eliminating them entirely, in which case the deductions and loopholes are no longer needed?

  37. 37
    Terry Ott says:

    Ryan is a true believer, and must less in the “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” game than your garden variety political whore. He represents a very solid conservative district, so he is in NO danger of being voted out — none, whatsoever. (I live in the adjacent district, when Gwen Moore is similarly untouchable).

    Given Ryan’s recent notoriety, no surprise to those who have followed him over the years as he labored in the “green room” of political influence, he can win reelection without even campaigning — so I doubt the lobbyists will have much influence.

    I could be wrong (wouldn’t be unprecedented), but I think we will see that Ryan says what he means and acts accordingly. Refreshing. As I said, a “true believer”. Rather like a Feingold, but with a different world view.

    I like it that Ryan is forcing us to have the kind of wide open debate the people need regarding the future direction of the country. I don’t know if it’s Ryan being courageous. But I do think it’s Ryan being true to what he believes and advocating what he thinks is the best way forward. Debate it, counter it, compete with ideas against it. All good; all healthy in a democratic society. But, as for me, I do respect the kind of “let’s put the chips on the table” attitude Ryan personifies … instead of the time-honored “avoid the third rail” and “pay no attention to the gorilla on the coffee table” nuancing, bobbing, and weaving we are accustomed to.

  38. 38
    chopper says:

    what’s awesome is, ryan didn’t propose shit. someone at a town hall mentioned ending oil subsidies and ryan went ‘yeah, that’s a good idea’.

    how courageous! he agreed with someone else’s point!

  39. 39
    liberal says:

    @Terry Ott:

    But, as for me, I do respect the kind of “let’s put the chips on the table” attitude Ryan personifies …

    LOL. Except for the fact that he provides no detail whatsoever for most of his plans, like what tax loopholes he’s actually going to close.

    …instead of the time-honored “avoid the third rail” and “pay no attention to the gorilla on the coffee table” nuancing, bobbing, and weaving we are accustomed to.

    Yes, oh so brave—his plans include huge tax cuts for rich people, and huge cuts in benefits for poor and middle class people. Cue Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech.

    It’s bad enough we have to have politicians whoring themselves out to the rich and powerful for pecuniary advantage. You’re doing it for free.

  40. 40
    Terry Ott says:

    liberal and chopper:

    I made no claims about Ryan being “brave”. “Brave” comes into play when an elected official puts his career at risk, which Ryan is not doing. I happen to think he is sincere, consistent, and candid and (as I said) essentially bullet proof in terms of reelection, so he doesn’t NEED to cater to special interests, nor does he need to be “brave”. I don’t know if he is or isn’t inherently brave, but I do think he is refreshingly direct.

    I believe (check me out) his roadmap has always specified that loopholes benefiting corporations and the wealthy would be closed, even though that has not been emphasized by the press coverage. Thus he is presenting simplification along with being revenue neutral overall. For those, like you, who fault his not listing the loopholes, I think he essentially just answered: “yes, all of them.” It will be a bitter pill for tax attorneys to swallow.

    What “pecuniary advantage” is Ryan trying to obtain?

Comments are closed.