Obama shelves oil company tax after price fall: aide

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama is not planning to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies because prices have dropped below $80 a barrel, an aide said on Tuesday.

"President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," an aide on Obama's transition team said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."

Oil prices have fallen from a record $147 a barrel in July to under $50 this week.

Obama, who signaled early in his campaign for the White House that he would take an active approach to oil markets as president, had planned to use the revenue from a windfall profits tax to fund a tax rebate for low- and middle-income families struggling with high energy prices.

But the aide said Obama's presidential campaign had already taken the price drop into account six weeks ago. When Obama laid out his economic plan for the middle class in mid-October, revenue from a windfall profit tax was not included because of the price change, he said.

Oil companies steadfastly opposed a tax, saying it would stifle exploration and innovation.

The switch drew applause from industry.

"The judgment to withdraw the concept of a windfall profits tax is an important recognition that developing America's oil and natural gas would be seriously damaged by such a tax policy," said Lee Fuller, vice president of government relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents independent oil and gas producers.

"A windfall profits tax is bad policy at any price," said Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, calling the move "a heartening development -- both for consumers and an economy struggling to claw its way out of recession."

Many energy experts warned that imposing a windfall profits tax would discourage energy companies from drilling for oil in the United States, which would exacerbate U.S. reliance on foreign suppliers.

But environmentalists support a tax and want oil companies to invest more in renewable fuels.

Obama has made revamping U.S. energy policy a key priority of his upcoming presidency, promising to increase production of renewable energy sources and start a carbon trading system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He said recently that the fall in gasoline prices was not an excuse to put off tackling U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Oil Tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who met with Obama during the campaign to discuss energy policy, said he was against a windfall profits tax but did not believe the decision not to implement one would affect domestic oil production.

"The windfall profits tax won't have anything to do with killing any oil projects," Pickens told reporters in Washington.

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Sen. Ted Cruz: NOBODY should be afraid of Trump's Supreme Court justice pick

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to weigh in on President Donald Trump's potential Supreme Court nominees and talk about his timely new book, "One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History."

Sen. Cruz argued that, while Congressional Democrats are outraged over President Trump's chance at a third court appointment, no one on either side should be afraid of a Supreme Court justice being appointed if it's done according to the founding documents. That's why it's crucial that the GOP fills the vacant seat with a true constitutionalist.

Watch the video below to hear the conversation:

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Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to talk about why he believes President Donald Trump will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will consider and vote on the nominee, also weighed in on another Supreme Court contender: Judge Barbara Lagoa. Lee said he would not be comfortable confirming Lagoa without learning more about her history as it pertains to upholding the U.S. Constitution.

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This week on the Glenn Beck Podcast, Glenn spoke with Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias about his new book, "One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger."

Matthew and Glenn agree that, while conservatives and liberals may disagree on a lot, we're not as far apart as some make it seem. If we truly want America to continue doing great things, we must spend less time fighting amongst ourselves.

Watch a clip from the full interview with Matthew Yglesias below:


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'A convenient boogeyman for misinformation artists': Why is the New York Times defending George Soros?

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On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday, Glenn discussed the details of a recent New York Times article that claims left-wing billionaire financier George Soros "has become a convenient boogeyman for misinformation artists who have falsely claimed that he funds spontaneous Black Lives Matter protests as well as antifa, the decentralized and largely online, far-left activist network that opposes President Trump."

The Times article followed last week's bizarre Fox News segment in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared to be censored for criticizing Soros (read more here). The article also labeled Glenn a "conspiracy theorist" for his tweet supporting Gingrich.

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