Fox News' business commentator Stuart Varney scolded President Obama yesterday for saying that oil companies enjoy "subsidies" at the expense of taxpayers. We shouldn't use the word "subsidies," Varney said, because they're actually tax breaks. He added: "Drilling deductions are an encouragement to drill. Take them away? Less encouragement. Less drilling":
Varney felt so strongly about this purported distinction between subsidies and tax breaks that he also uploaded a YouTube video rehashing his point: "Let's be very clear. It is not a subsidy."
Less than a year ago, Varney not only called the oil tax breaks "subsidies," he agreed we need to "get rid of them" and specifically rejected the notion that oil companies would be less inclined to drill without the tax preferences:
That was April 2011. Two months later, Varney was calling oil subsidies "wonderful," and now he's quibbling about the definition of "subsidy," echoing the talking points of the American Petroleum Institute. Quite a reversal.