Socializing Big Oil: Counting the Cost

Socialism manifests itself across many areas of the United States economic system and one of the largest manifestations is demonstrated in the Big Oil business.

In an investigative article published today by The Guardian (note: NOT an American newspaper) provides the details for us:  US Taxpayers Subsidising World’s Biggest Fossil Fuel Companies.   Check out these statistics:

The Guardian has found that:

  • A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.
  • ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefitting from $119m of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41bn profit.
  • A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78m to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4bn in profit.

1.6 billion, 119 million, 78 millions of dollars – relinquished, surrendered, squandered, and tossed away in the very face of profit and excess.

Here’s what that means:  Our tax dollars must necessarily make up for the lost, wasted bigoilmoney.   By underwriting their absent taxes with our own we socialize the Big Oil industry.

One of the biggest elements of The Financialization Revolution is the shift from democracy to oligarchy where only a few (and wealthy) citizens call the shots and make economic policy.   The Guardian points out that the Big Oil companies who prosper from their subsidies are quite generous to politicians who write policy.  Turns out to be an excellent investment.

Besides just the monetary costs of socializing Big Oil, The Guardian article does an excellent job of emphasizing the environmental costs.  Subsidizing Big Oil at this stage of climate change is akin to enabling an addict family member by providing them heroin.  It absolutely keeps  us dependent upon the fossil fuel industry in a time when we could be the world leader in developing more sustainable, environmentally friendly products.

There’s also the cost to our nation sociologically and economically.  Other countries are filling the green innovation gap which means we are being robbed of the jobs, creativity, and prosperity that correspond with innovation.   This means we are being surpassed in irreparable ways while opportunities fly by us and land in China, Europe, and South America.

As we gear up for another presidential election, we are faced with a crucial decision about the future of our nation.  We can support a platform that continues to socialize Big Oil, or we can support a platform that would offer viable, exemplary alternatives.  The costs are enormous.  Here’s to choosing well.

Yours, Frankie

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About Frankie Wallace

Frankie earned her BA in History from CSU Chico. She lives in northern California with one husband, two dogs, and three boys. Frankie is an avid cooker, reader, hiker, and napper.
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