Even If We Counted Tax Deductions As Subsidies, Wind Gets 12 Times More Than Oil

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I don’t really like the comparison CNBC is making here because “tax preferences” (basically tax deductions that allow the oil industry to keep more of their own revenues) is not the same thing as subsidies, which is the government just giving money to the wind industry.

But if we did stipulate to the left’s insistence that tax deductions are subsidies, it’s worth noting that wind gets 12 times more than oil (via Bruce Oksol):

…the tax preferences for wind energy total $1,540 per barrel of oil equivalent per day.

At $1,540 per barrel of oil equivalent per day, the wind sector is getting subsidies that are about 12 times as great as the amount of tax preferences provided to the oil and gas sector.

Here are the numbers: In 2011, domestic oil and gas production totaled 19.736 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Last year, according to the CBO, the tax preferences extended to the fossil-fuel sector totaled $2.5 billion.Therefore, a bit of simple math shows that the tax preferences for the oil and gas sector cost taxpayers about $127 per barrel of oil equivalent per day.

Again, I don’t agree that tax deductions “cost” the taxpayers anything. That presumes that the oil industry’s revenues belong to the public, and that when we let the industry keep more of that money it’s “costing” the public something.

That’s not how it works. Lighter tax burdens are not the same as subsidies. That being said, wind gets far more in government assistance even if we count lower tax burdens as subsidies.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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