(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Oil companies profits. They make so much and pay so little in taxes. They get all kinds of handouts from the government.

Everyone wants to cut the “handouts” to oil companies. They are evil corporations that pollute the planet and lobby against alternative energies.

That’s the common thought process when it comes to oil companies. Evil, greedy and evil again.

Perhaps we should clear the air about what oil companies get and don’t get.

Here are a few facts about oil subsidies that you might not have known.

Fun Facts About Oil Subsidies

  • Bill of Attainder – Even if we could remove subsidies from oil companies it would mean taking them from every other company in America. And that violates the Bill of Attainder found in Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution.
  • When you fill your tank the bulk of the money goes to taxes. Not to refining and drilling costs to bring the gas to market and put big bucks in oil company pockets.
  • In the first quarter of 2011 Exxon’s profits were $10.65 billion. Over $10 billion after taxes. However, they did pay $8 billion in taxes, or 42 percent of their income before taxes.
  • One special treatment subsidy that oil companies do get is something called “Intangible Drilling Costs.” That amount, $0.78billion would keep the US operating for about two hours. We are making a loan twice that much to Brazilian state-owned oil companies.
  • Eighty-seven percent of the world’s oil supplies are owned by state owned companies, OPEC and Russia. Exxon owns about 0.68 percent of the worldwide oil reserves. Venezuela owns 10 times more than Exxon.
  • What about Gas and Oil lobbies? Where does big oil rank? In the 2008 election Trial Lawyers were number one, spending $126.9 million. Education chipped in another $37.4 million. Oil and Gas came in at number 19 spending $17.7 million.
  • Many people fail to understand the definition of “subsidy.” For most it’s synonymous with “handout.” Actually those subsides are earnings that oil companies keep they are not checks written by taxpayers.

Some Final Thoughts

Business can be complicated. Add in taxes and accountants and it really gets complicated.

I self-published two of my small business books. I am allowed by the tax laws to subtract the cost of printing, advertising, and mailing those books from the total income I receive when I sell one.

I get the exact same subsidy that oil companies get called “the cost of goods sold.” Add me to the list of evil greedy corporations.

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