GOP Hopeful Carson Backtracks Oil ‘Subsidies’ Comments

by Deon Daugherty, Senior Editor

During the Oct. 29 debate, GOP Presidential hope Dr. Ben Carson walked back comments he made about “the oil subsidy” in May telling a crowd in Iowa he’d use the $4 billion for fuel stations that pump fuel with more ethanol.

“I was wrong about taking the oil subsidy,” Carson said during the debate.

Given his spot among Republicans running for the nomination at the time, it was enough to quell any disapproval.

And when Carson was in Iowa – the nation’s leader in producing corn ethanol – he offered a different perspective.

“I don’t particularly like the idea of government subsidies for anything because it interferes with the natural free market,” he said at the time, according to The Hill.

Ordinarily, the term “subsidies” is saved for things like government contributions to public schools and the nation’s farmers.

But it’s a fighting word when applied to the tax deductions enjoyed by the oil and gas industry.

Just ask the American Petroleum Institute, the energy industry’s chief special interest group in Washington.

In the Policy Issues section on API’s website, the group is clear about whether the industry enjoys subsidies handed out like candy or respectable business tax deductions.

“The U.S. oil and natural gas industry does not receive ‘subsidized’ payments from the government to produce oil and gas. However, there are many provisions in the tax code that allow companies to recover their costs. The oil and gas industry are eligible for these deductions, which are similar to, if not the same as, deductions available to many other industries,” API said. “U.S. oil and natural gas companies pay considerably more of its profits in taxes than the average manufacturing company. Tax deductions should in no way be confused with subsidies.”

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