New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.
Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011 even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.
Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996. Rather than take responsibility for this giveaway, Bush is going to blame it on Clinton when in reality, it's just more of the same type of kickback given to his big oil company cronies.
In addition, Mr. Bush and House Republicans are trying to kill a one-year, $5 billion windfall profits tax for oil companies that the Senate passed last fall. This creep has no shame.
In total, the government said it would lose a total of nearly $35 billion in royalties to taxpayers by 2011 — about the same amount that Mr. Bush is proposing to cut from Medicare, Medicaid, student aid, and child support enforcement programs over the same period. These actions, combined with the reversal of any environmental regulation that would cost fuel companies profits, make Mr. Bush the most notorious criminal ever to inhabit the White House.