Barton, Republicans want cuts, but not in subsidies to oil and gas companies

The Republicans now in control of the U.S. House have been raising a big ruckus over the need to cut federal spending, and they are willing to cut just about every federal program there is to balance the budget without raising taxes. Those same Republicans have been excoriating President Obama and Democrats in both the House and the Senate for not being willing to make drastic cuts the Republicans say are necessary.

Except in one area: tax subsidies to oil and gas companies.

Democrats want to eliminate the oil and gas subsidies — about $4 billion worth — a move the White House estimates would save about $46 billion over 10 years, according to Talking Points Memo. But Republicans say, no way.

In fact, Texas Republican Joe Barton, the 6th District congressman who lives in Arlington, is one of the chief defenders of the subsidy. In an interview Wednesday with ABC, Barton claimed the tax subsidies are really just equal treatment, and that without them, companies like Exxon Mobile would go out of business.

Barton said: “Over time if you put so many disincentives against any U.S. manufacturing or production company, or oil and gas exploration company, they’ll go out of business.”

Really Joe? We have to cut education funding because America is broke, but we can’t let Exxon Mobile suffer.

In case you didn’t know, in the last quarter of 2010, Exxon Mobile profits rose 53 percent to $9.25 billion thanks to rising oil prices, according to this piece by Robert Creamer at Huffington Post. That puts Exxon Mobile’s profit rate at about $37 billion a year. That’s “billion.” With a “b.”

I’m not sure why Rep. Barton — who by the way is the same guy who apologized during a congressional hearing to BP because people were being so mean to them last year about that little oil spill in the Gulf — thinks Exxon Mobile can’t possibly make it without those tax breaks. I mean, we know for sure the company isn’t spending any money on protections and benefits for its LGBT employees.

—  admin

Should health officials ask about orientation?

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin

… And am I really agreeing with Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton?

Openly gay Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill in the House Energy and Commerce committee that would require federal health officials to ask patients their sexual orientation and gender identity. And there’s more wrong with this post than the fact that I’m sort of agreeing with Joe Barton — I also picked up the article about Baldwin’s bill from Fox News.

Baldwin thinks the requirement would help illustrate the disparity in health care that gays and lesbians receive compared to the general population.

Barton thinks it’s an invasion of privacy and that young people might not even know what the question means.

I think it will scare the hell out of some gays and lesbians who are afraid of being outed to their families and employers.

Baldwin argues that refusal to answer would never be a barrier to health care.

While I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m straight, others are more circumspect and I respect that.

What do you think?

—  David Taffet

Open letter to several Texas Congressmen

Ret. Col. Stewart Bornhof
Ret. Col. Stewart Bornhoft

Dave Gainer forwarded the following letter to us from retired army colonel Stewart Bornhoft.

He wrote that it was his hope that Texas representatives Joe Barton, Chet Edwards, Gene Green and Dr. “No” Burgess read the letter.

To the 194 Representatives, the 12 Senators, and the 4 Service Chiefs who now find themselves in a minority, we know how you feel.  We’ve been there.

When you cast your vote or wrote your letters this week to prolong the prejudice and hypocrisy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, you made a decision that put you on the wrong side of history. There are those in the majority who now are eager to “name and shame” you, but I suggest a higher path. While you shall certainly be held accountable, you still have a chance to set a better course.  Act now to voice your support for the goals of the Pentagon Working Group and the policies that will implement honest and open service. We extend a hand to you, hoping you will not push it way and remain sitting in the path of progress, but instead take that hand, stand, and walk forward with us.  We will all get there faster.

—  David Taffet