If the modern market economy were a soccer game, the legal fictions known as corporations would be leading actual human beings 5-nil — because the refs let the corporations use their hands. For example:
When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform set off the worst oil spill at sea in American history, it was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. Registering there allowed the rig’s owner to significantly reduce its American taxes. The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes.
Yet just try sticking a Dutch flag on your house & arguing to the cops that it voids U.S. drug law…
At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.
With federal officials now considering a new tax on petroleum production to pay for the cleanup, the industry is fighting the measure, warning that it will lead to job losses and higher gasoline prices, as well as an increased dependence on foreign oil.
But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. (emphasis mine)
Oil gets subsidies out the wazoo. An oil company & its cohorts, through negligence, causes the worst spill ever. Still, even in this context, paying for the privileges they receive is beyond the pale. However, note that they hint one of the results would be higher gas prices. No one just absorbs higher taxes, they shift things around in response: we spend less on other stuff, they…well, they make other stuff cost more for us. So, more accurately, no one absorbs higher taxes but us…
A common feature of artificially propped up industry is to claim their privilege serves a common good. Agribusiness are masters at it, but oil is trying:
Oil industry officials say that the tax breaks, which average about $4 billion a year according to various government reports, are a bargain for taxpayers. By helping producers weather market fluctuations and invest in technology, tax incentives are supporting an industry that the officials say provides 9.2 million jobs.
“It’s practically a win-win, folks! We get super rich, you get gas that, while not cheap, isn’t as expensive as we WANT to make it! Quit whining!”
The rest of the article provides more details of just how deep & stubborn these subsidies are, but the gist is obvious: in oil production, there is no free market. That’s not the main thought I had when reading it though. Instead, I thought about how despite such glaring intervention in favor of fossil fuel, “green energy” is automatically assumed to require its own special subsidies & breaks out the ass to make a serious dent. Why? To put it simply, because with no subsidies either way there’s no sucker, and there always has to be a sucker…