The president and many in Congress are using this year’s catastrophe in the Gulf to push for sweeping, unrelated measures that would punish not only the US oil and gas industry but the American economy as a whole.
Just last week, President Obama explicitly targeted the industry for two massive tax hikes. First, he’d ban oil and gas companies from using the “Section 199” tax credit, a measure for domestic manufacturers enacted in 2004 to boost US employment. (The Senate is set to vote this week on its version of the ban.) Second, he wants to end “dual capacity” protection for US energy firms.
Without this shield against double taxation on foreign revenues, American companies would be competing on an uneven global playing field. Again, Obama aims directly and specifically at the US oil and gas industry.
Yet, by the federal government’s own economic model, these tax hikes would lead to huge, immediate job losses. I ran the numbers through the Commerce Department’s RIMS II model; it shows, under the proposed changes to Section 199 and dual capacity, Americans would almost immediately lose more than 150,000 stable, private-sector jobs.