A friend who lives in South Africa sent me a clipping from her Cape Town newspaper. The article complained about the growing bureaucracy in that country and called for reform. That bureaucratic bloat was beginning to show its ugly head there came as no surprise to me. Bloat is a natural disease of government though the costs to South Africa are Lilliputian compared to ours.
Consider the revenues we lose per year from oil industry subsidies, alone. They would make the South African government salivate.
Domestic Manufacturing Deduction: Annual cost to U.S. taxpayers $574 million
Depletion Allowance: Annual cost to U. S. taxpayers, $617 to $1.1 billion
Deep Water Royalty Relief Act (meant to last 5 years but goes on to the present day): a subsidy of $14.7 billion to date and growing with each year.
Oil Drilling Expenses: Cost to US tax payers $3.5 billion per year.
(“Triumph of the Drill,” by Andy Kroll et al, Mother Jones, November/December pgs. 41-47)
To guarantee these subsidies in perpetuity, the oil industry employs 796 lobbyists of whom 60% are former members of Congress. So far, these companies have given $357 million to federal campaigns with $4 out of every $5 going to Republican candidates. And, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in “Citizen’s United” they will be allowed to contribute even more. (Ibid)
Given their enormous wealth, one wonders if oil companies really need these subsidies. What if we let them grow rich on their own and used the savings to improve schools? The infrastructure? Invest in job creation?
Too pie in the sky, I’m afraid — which explains why South Africa’s bloat look enviable to me.
(Courtesy of www.politicalcartoon.com)