Comment: Wrong question.

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Wrong question.

"Why is it that oil and gas companies are allowed to deduct up to 80 percent of the costs of drilling?"

The real question is: Why aren't they allowed to deduct 100 percent of the costs of drilling? (I was not aware they were not. Maybe you are not accurately presenting the situation.)

I'm not really convinced taxing businesses is a good idea in the first place. But if you're going to tax businesses, I would think you would only tax profits, not all revenue. (Then again, I think the idea of ascribing profits to businesses is kind of nonsense -- shareholders/investors collect profits via dividends/returns, employees collect profits via income, a business may form capital which it either reinvests or disburses at a later time, but the businesses itself doesn't really make any profit. The business is just the mechanism by which profit is made. Starting with such an illogical concept and then trying to write tax law to it is just a prescription for insanity, such as a special, somewhat punitive, tax called the Accumulated Earnings Tax which imposes a special tax on the corporation if it has what are deemed to be excessive earnings. Not only do businesses not really have profits, they don't really pay taxes either -- those too end up being paid by people.)

"How can we expect oil companies to prevent spills if they can rely on taxpayers to pay for cleanup?"

Spoken like someone who doesn't know math. If an oil company has to pay (say) 30% tax on their profits, and they had profits of $1000M, then they would get to keep $700M and have to pay $300M. But if on top of their normal expenses they incur a $400M cleanup cost, their profits are now only $600M, and they have to pay $180M in taxes, leaving them with only $420. If the "taxpayers pay for cleanup" as you say, then I think this company would like to know how it can get its $700M - $420M = $280M back.

(And guess what happens to prices if you start taxing revenue rather than profits... The market distortions from tax-avoidance "stove-piping" would be epic.)

"Mitt Romney probably doesn't pump his own gas"

In some states no one pumps their own gas. They've made it illegal.

"Are the billions in subsidies you already receive not enough for you to act to prevent toxic oil spills?"

Why would you think gifts with no strings attached (or at least no strings related to oil spills) have anything to do with preventing oil spills? That's some pretty fuzzy thinking.

Anyways, to the extent that oil companies are receiving actual subsidies, those should be eliminated. (And from what I've heard elsewhere there are some real subsidies issues in the oil industry - but you've done a poor job of presenting them here.) But deducting the real costs of doing business? Everyone should be allowed to do that.