Hearings Were a Farce
Harold Ford Jr., a moderate Democrat who lost his bid to become a senator from Tennessee, has always been a clear thinker and at times expressed views counter to the spin that more liberal Democrats put on matters.
Ford, in a recent article, strongly disagreed with the Obama administration’s lengthy moratorium on deep water drilling and the stretching out of the approval process on drilling permits. He quotes President Bill Clinton, who called those actions “ridiculous.”
Further, he stated that lawmakers misrepresent the facts when they call legitimate tax credits as “subsidies” or “loopholes” for oil and gas firms. The truth is that the deductions were granted in a 2004 law to spur domestic job growth and are available to all U.S. manufacturers.
The Senate Finance Committee hearing this week involving the presence of the CEOs of the top five oil companies was best described by Sen. Hatch as a dog-and-pony show, illustrating his point with a large photo of a dog perched atop a pony. After watching the spectacle for a short time, it became apparent to me that the purpose was to demonize the oil companies and to shift the blame for higher gasoline prices to the companies and away from Washington politicians.
I quit watching the farce when Sen. Baucus, chairman of the committee, challenged a statement made by a CEO that only 19 percent of its after-tax revenues were used to pay dividends and to buy back shares with the balance used to develop new technologies and increase oil and gas production. Baucus then held up a graph showing a higher percentage of profits were used for dividends and share buybacks, reflecting his ignorance of the difference between cash flow and profits.
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