Audit Notes: Corporate Welfare for BP, (Financial) Markets First, Facebook

The Los Angeles Times has a terrific story pointing out that Washington larded up the oil companies with tax breaks five years ago for deep-sea drilling.

At the time, drilling was already proceeding at a brisk pace, and industry profits were setting records. “With all the money they are making,” Markey said to his top energy aide, who recalled the scene, “why does the government need to subsidize their work and their research?”

The tax breaks for these most-profitable companies in the world go into the tens of billions of dollars. I don’t think it incentivized these guys to drill in the Gulf—they were going to do that anyway. But they’ll take our cash.

Corporate welfare at its finest.

(h/t Marian Wang)

— Atrios, with trademark concision, gets at the banal ridiculousness of this Geithner story:

Geithner Urges Europe Reassure Markets


Maybe someone should consider trying to reassure the labor market for a change.

— What’s Facebook really doing to tamp down its privacy PR nightmare? I look to Valleywag’s Ryan Tate, as usual, for that. He breaks down the good and the “shameful” in Mark Zuckerberg’s partial volte-face.

The good news is you’ll have more control over what information you want to share, like your friends list. And here’s one of the shameful:

Mark Zuckerberg is lying about his motivations: Here’s something the CEO of Facebook stated during his press conference today: “It’s not about the money. It might seem weird, we’re not doing this to make more money. For all the people inside the company that could not be more true. It’s such a big disconnect that we’re doing this for the money.”

Uh huh.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.