Led by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), 54 House Republicans wrote and sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) last week, calling for the end of the “crony” tax subsidies for wind energy companies, reported The Hill.
“We offer our full support of the current process undertaken by the House committee on Ways and Means that will allow the most anti-competitive and economically tax provisions, specifically the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), to expire,” the letter stated. “Ensuring that our nation’s patchwork tax code undergoes significant reform is a noble goal and, as part of this process, we believe Congress should stop picking winners and losers and finally end the wind PTC.”
For how adamantly this group of Republicans wants the PTC to expire, they sure do remain quietly steadfast behind such tax credits and government handouts for big oil companies. Over the last 100 years, the oil and gas industry has received at least $470 billion in tax breaks. Despite countless attempts to eradicate needless and costly subsidies for oil and gas companies over the last several decades, each attempt has completely stalled.
“Extending the wind PTC is a key priority for the Obama administration and its efforts to prop up wind and other favored ‘green energy’ technologies,” continued the letter. “Proponents of the wind PTC continue to call for an extension despite growing evidence that this subsidy has not only cost taxpayers billions, but has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets.”
“Wind PTC” could easily be replaced by “big oil tax breaks” seeing as either harms taxpayers the same way. With the combination of drilling expense write-offs, depletion allowances, and domestic manufacturing deductions, the current oil and gas industry subsidies cost taxpayers up to $5 billion annually.
However, Capitol Hill won’t dismantle such a large cash flow for oil and gas companies because that industry floods Washington D.C. with millions of dollars in political donations and federal lobbying. This graphic from Mother Jones illustrates how much money the oil and gas industry is giving to Washington:
It’s despicable that the Republicans would call for the end of wind PTCs when they would fight tooth and nail to keep subsidies for the oil and gas industry intact. Of course, the fact isn’t at all surprising, but it’s still infuriating to know that such hypocrisy exists on the Beltway.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.