There is largely unanimous agreement that the sequester is not the optimal route for getting Washington’s finances under control. But targeting one select industry for punitive, discriminatory tax increases, when that industry already pays one of the highest tax rates in the country, is no way to solve our budget woes.
In the past, President Obama has called for comprehensive tax reform, which is something we can all get behind. But singling out the energy industry for higher taxes is not the way to go. A much better path, and one that grows both the economy and federal revenues, is simply allowing access to more of America’s taxpayer-owned federal lands. Today the federal government leases less than 3 percent of its lands for oil and natural gas production. The federal government could go a long way to helping fix our fiscal woes by merely providing access to our energy resources.
Thomas J. Pyle is the president of the Institute for Energy Research.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.