In a far-reaching, data-driven, and damning feature for the Huffington Post, lead Washington correspondent Dan Froomkin explains why Obama has found it completely impossible to eliminate subsidies to oil companies. These subsidies amount to up to $90 billion over the next 10 years — that's $90 billion that will be shouldered by every other taxpayer even as the oil and gas industry continues to chalk up record profits.
Every time these enormous subsidies are at issue, the American Petroleum Institute argues that eliminating these tax breaks would threaten jobs. And yet the industry they represent has accrued a trillion dollars in profit (that's take-home, not gross) over the past decade, and will likely do significantly better in the next 10 years. $90 billion is less than a 10th of that amount.
How did they do it? The oil and gas industry spent a billion dollars on lobbying in the past 10 years — a lot, but only a fraction of that $90 billion, yielding an incredible rate of return. That doesn't even count the direct contributions they make to political campaigns through Political Action Committees. The API has become so bold that they are now setting up their own PAC.
Here's one more fact that's relevant: For every $1 the oil and gas industry spends on Democrats, they spend $3.35 on Republicans.