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Paul Ryan's Impossible Dream: End Oil Subsidies Without Raising Taxes

Rep. Paul Ryan -- the architect of the GOP's "Path to Prosperity" 2012 budget -- has broken away from the rest of the Republican pack by publicly supporting a plan to end oil industry tax breaks. Or has he?

It's hard to tell because Ryan has conflicting stances on oil subsidies and taxes. Just today, Ryan agreed with a constituent who called for Congress to end subsidies to oil companies during a town hall meeting in a conservative sector of Wisconsin, Think Progress reported. Here's what Ryan said during the meeting, according to the video:

We're talking about reforming the safety net of the welfare system. We also want to get rid of corporate welfare. Corporate welfare goes to agribusiness companies, energy companies, financial services companies, so we propose to repeal all of that. We're saying get rid of these tax shelters.
But Ryan voted twice this year to extend subsidies to oil companies, Think Progress noted. And while one of the stated goals of GOP budget is to end corporate welfare, it appears to do the exact opposite.

Ryan's plan doesn't take a long term view on growth or global competitiveness. Instead, it maintains wasteful subsidies for Big Oil and guts investments in clean energy. These cuts are deep and, if enacted, would leave investment in clean energy 63 percent below the current continuing resolution and 69 percent below the White House's FY2012 budget request, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Finally, Ryan wants to end tax subsidies, but also doesn't want to raise taxes. Ryan's spokesman Conor Sweeney explained to The Hill in an email the proposal to end corporate welfare applies to the oil industry as well. But he also noted that Ryan and other Republicans have "made clear we are not for raising taxes."

Maybe Ryan doesn't realize what he's saying. By closing loopholes and eliminating tax shelters, taxes will increase for companies in all of these industries. End tax subsidies = higher taxes for those companies. Ah, to dream the impossible dream.

Photo from BP

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