Letters to the Editor

Your views in 250 words or less

OIL: Companies aren’t getting subsidies

Letter by Hank Harwell, Browns Point on May 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm | 95 Comments »
May 31, 2011 2:05 pm

Re: “Republicans favor Big Oil over little guy” (letter, 5-29).

The writer claims to be confused by the Republican debt logic. I wonder why the writer and liberals in general persist in claiming that the oil companies are receiving subsidies at all. A subsidy is a grant or a gift of money. Oil companies are certainly not receiving any taxpayer-subsidized payments.

In fact, using the term “tax breaks” when referring to oil company earnings is somewhat misleading. Does the writer believe the oil companies are earning too much? In 2010, the industry earned 5.7 cents per dollar of sales compared to 8.5 cents for all U.S. manufacturing.

In 2009 the U.S. oil industry’s effective marginal income tax rate averaged 41 percent, compared to 26 percent for the S&P industrial companies.

Oil companies have paid the federal government more than $100 billion in royalties and lease payments since 2000. They pay more than $86 million to the federal government every single day. In addition, the industry has invested almost $1.7 trillion since 2000 in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy.

The industry supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and contributes to 7.5 percent of gross domestic product. The earnings of oil companies enhance their stock values, and oil company stocks are incorporated in many if not most current and future retiree investment portfolios.


The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for thenewstribune.com. Report violators to webmaster@thenewstribune.com.