Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is no stranger to making headlines, mostly for his socialist views in a Senate that is otherwise 100% occupied by other parties. However, with his surge in the polls and the only other viable candidate possibly headed for indictment, he may possibly be the Democratic nominee for the presidential candidacy. So how would his policies be disastrous for oil?
1. No Keystone
Like many of his Democratic counterparts, Bernie Sanders is against building the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast and cites environmental concerns as the reason. When a CNN anchor cited a report from President Obama’s State Department in 2014, she told him, “It found the pipeline would not significantly affect greenhouse gases and it would also support 42,000 jobs over two years. It would result in $3.4 billion for the U.S. economy. All of that sounds good.” Sanders went on to accuse the report of being inaccurate and generated by “the company itself”. Even though the reporter repeatedly reminded him the report was done by the State Department, Sanders was unwavering in his opposition to the pipeline.
Watch the entire exchange on CNN here.
2. Climate Change Calamity
On his own site, the Sanders campaign wishes to take the following action on climate change:
• Transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels.
• Transform it towards energy efficiency and sustainability by (forcing?) millions of homes and buildings to be weatherized.
• “Greatly accelerate” progress in wind and solar power generation.
• Tax carbon and methane emission, aka “air tax.”
• Spend $3.2 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for more than 86,000 buildings (public or private?) and install more than 9,500 solar energy systems.
Unfortunately, the cost for all of this would be far beyond the $3.2 billion proposed in the last item, and the cost to the average American is immeasurable but would no doubt lead to higher taxes, higher energy bills, stricter regulations, and possibly the EPA telling people they must “weatherize” their homes to the agency’s own standards.
3. Energy Will be the Enemy
In a recent report by Slate, Bernie Sanders has recently called for a federal investigation against Exxon Mobil for allegedly misleading the public about the dangers of fossil fuels much the same way the tobacco industry misled the public on the dangers of cigarettes.
“Based on available public information, it appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” said Sanders. However, no effort was meant to explain what the harm to the public was, which in theory could be anything from Hurricane Katrina to asthma. If successful, the investigation could lead to suits that would force Exxon and other energy companies to pay for these climate change damages.
4. More Taxes, More Problems
While the Sanders official site has information on everything from living wages to fighting for LGBT rights, it says nothing of his tax policy. However, the Senator has promised Medicare for everyone, free college tuition at all public institutions, paid medical leave for all, higher Social Security benefits, and free child care.
In a recent appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Maher pressed him on this and told him, “The amount of tax revenue we would get just from taxing the people who I think your fans think you’re talking about — the people who own a yacht — does not come close to covering what you want to pay for.”
While Bernie contrasted that it was not true, he eventually conceded that he may have to tax those “a little bit lower than that, but not much lower.” Given the trillion-plus dollar cost of all of the above, it’s hard to believe there wouldn’t be anyone who was taxed for it all.
5. Less Investments, Less Jobs
Although the Sanders presidential site is short on tax information, his Senatorial site is not. A few of the proposals he’s had as a Vermont senator include:
1. Stopping large corporations from stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens. The site does not say how it would be stopped, only that it would result in $590 billion in revenue.
2. Establishing a “Wall Street speculation fee” for the purpose encouraging investments and reducing the deficits. The site does not speculate on how many investments would never happen as a result of the fee.
3. Ending subsidies and tax breaks for big oil. The subsidies and tax breaks are not identified, nor is the question of how many jobs lost addressed, only the estimate of an extra $113 billion for the federal government.
4. Raising the dividends and capital gains tax to 39.6% from 20%. It is estimated to get an extra $500 billion for the government, but the site does not clarify if the number was calculated assuming that nearly doubling the tax would not affect investments in any way.
Lilia Fabry is the owner of MPP Freelance, a writing and web design firm in Houston, TX.