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Greg Wentz, Bismarck, Published April 28 2012

Letter: Oily hands grease politicians’ pockets

In 2005, President George W. Bush stated, “With $55 oil, we don’t need incentives to the oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives.” The five largest oil companies currently enjoy a $4 billion tax subsidy.

In 2010, before the Senate Finance Committee, the Big Five CEOs agreed with President Bush’s statement. They agreed that they did not need the subsidy.

The big five earned a combined $137 billion in profits in 2011. Today, oil is selling at $102 per barrel. Gasoline prices, at near-record highs, are hurting American families and killing American businesses. President Barack Obama, agreeing with President Bush, asked Congress to end the tax subsidies to big oil. Senate Republicans blocked the president.

Let’s step back and look at the big picture. Our deficit is unsustainable. Yet congressional Republicans give massive subsidies to a very profitable industry, one which does not need help. Big oil then makes massive contributions to the re-election campaigns of Republicans. Those congressional Republicans then reward big oil by extending the tax subsidies. The money comes out of our pockets. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., give it to big oil, then big oil gives it back to Hoeven and Berg to finance their campaigns.

Every year, those politicians ask taxpayers for another $4 billion to give to big oil to help re-elect those same politicians. Is there something wrong with the big picture?