By Andrew Restuccia - 06/02/11 04:36 PM EDT
A proposal by Senate Democrats to strip tax breaks for the largest oil companies will do little to reduce the deficit, and the plan shows that Democrats view the oil industry as their “whipping boy,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Thursday.
Democrats have positioned their bill to slash oil tax breaks for five major oil companies as a deficit-reduction measure, arguing it would save $21 billion over 10 years, or about $2 billion a year.
But Barbour called $21 billion a paltry sum compared to the country’s massive $14 trillion debt.
Barbour suggested that Democrats view the oil industry as a political target.
“Do I think there are some people that don’t like the oil industry and think it’s a good whipping boy politically? I suspect that,” Barbour said. “But I can’t say what’s inside peoples’ hearts or minds and don’t pretend to.”
Legislation to eliminate tax breaks for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and BP failed to garner enough support to pass the Senate last month.