Wednesday, August 13, 2008

McCain: "Oil companies ... don't need any tax breaks"

With House Republicans trying to force a vote on oil drilling, and the Senate's Gang of 10 trying to cut them off at the knees, John McCain, in a clip shown this morning on FOX News, once again displayed the stunning superficiality of his understanding of economics:

The oil companies are ready to drill; they don't need any tax breaks to do that, not with the price of gas where it is.


rightwingliberal said...

Not to be rude, Leslie, but how does a refusal to support industrial policy via the tax code translate to economic ignorance?

Leslie Carbone said...

RWL, thanks for your comment, which I don't think is at all rude. If Sen. McCain had offerred a well-reasoned argument against using tax credits to encourage corporate behavior, I wouldn't have considered that a sign of ignorance. But that's not what he did. In trying to dodge questions about the Gang of 10's proposed tax hike, he pointed to gas prices--as though their sharp rise means pure profit for oil companies--and fell back on class-warfare rhetoric about whether corporations "need" tax "breaks". Laying aside the question of whether the federal government should be deciding how much of their own money companies "need" to keep, the simple fact is that corporate taxes are ultimately paid by the consumer. Sen. McCain's statement boils down to a weird rationale that, because consumers are paying high gas prices, they should also pay for high corporate taxes. Sen. McCain doesn't seem to grasp the irony of his position, and that failure, I think, is a mark of ignorance.

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