Barack Obama is presently waging faux populism on "Big Oil."
Let it be noted that SWNID favors ending special tax breaks and subsidies for Big and Little Oil.
But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. SWNID also insists on an end to subsidies and tax breaks for Big Ethanol, Big Wind, Big Solar, Big Biomass, Big Coal, Big Gas, Big Hydro, and Big Nuclear.
Mr. President, set a five-year schedule for winding down all energy subsidies and most agricultural subsidies (which happen to push up food prices while stifling development in the parts of the world that need developing). Then let freedom ring Adam Smith's bell until we have a more rational distribution of economic resources that serves the common need for energy.
This isn't about who is getting rich and who isn't. We don't care if the rich get rich, as long as everyone can be better off. Exxon's profits don't make SWNID poorer, and confiscating them for some federal boondoggle won't improve the SWNIDish quality of life one bit.
This isn't about what's fair and what isn't, though that's closer. Fairness in the tax code is a tough concept to define, let alone attain, though there's no obvious answer as to why one business should have tax advantages over another. We refuse to engage in the game that argues whether this or that group deserves a special break for some high-minded reason that's usually thinly disguised self-interest.
This is about marcoeconomics, about efficiency as markets, over time, judge that better than does politics. Because in the end, it's always politics that decides who gets a break on their taxes. Always.
Which is why the populism is faux.