Wednesday, May 11, 2011

That $4 billion oil industry tax break

Obama has been running around and running his mouth about a $4 billion tax break for the oil industry. Unfortunately Obama never actually says just what this tax break might be. Some net surfing suggests that he might be talking about Section 119, the Domestic Manufacturing deduction. This is a deal that allows all companies (and individuals too) to deduct 9% of their earning from domestic (US based) manufacturing, construction, movie production, and a few other opaque things, one of which apparently is drilling for oil.
This is a fairly general US income tax loop hole drilled back in 2004. Reading the opaque language of the statute hints that the intent of the statute was to give a tax break to domestic manufacturing to encourage investment at home, rather than in China. Just about every kinda company is eligible, it's by no means an oil industry tax break. It must have been buried pretty deep in the 2004 tax cut law, I never heard of it before.
Obama gives no indication of what he wants to do, close the loophole (raise taxes) for every one, or just oil companies.
At a time when cutting spending is the serious problem, why is Obama touting a chicken feed tax hike on the oil industry? Does he think the voters can be distracted from their quest for spending cuts by promising tax hikes on unpopular industries?

No comments: