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Time to Make Big Oil an Offer It Can't Refuse

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I've got a better idea than President Obama for what to do with Big Oil's big profit. Let the companies keep the profit in their pockets. But -- and it's a big but -- give them a little push with where to spend the profit, at least some of the profit -- let's call it the Big Oil profit froth, or what the government estimates is $41 billion over a decade in money the Big Oil companies are walking away with at the expense of the embattled federal budget.

As expected, Obama announced on Monday as part of his deficit reduction plan a proposal to take away Big Oil's industry-specific tax breaks, the $41 billion over 10 years that I'd let Big Oil pocket. The Obama plan is nothing new, and for the record its chances of legislative success are probably about as good as the chances of the president posing for a photo-op at White House-backed solar company Solyndra's hearings in bankruptcy court.

The Big Oil tax takeaway is dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, and if you think the Big Oil tax breaks play well anywhere other than with Obama's most ardent New York Times Op-ed page-reading base and the environmental lobby corner on K Street, you're the one being played.

President Obama is calling for the elimination of six tax incentives for oil and gas companies, which I won't bother detailing, as well as a reinstatement of the excise tax on crude oil, and a fee on non-producing oil and gas leases. Did you just hear more than half of Congress caught between a yawn and a chuckle and go back to whitening their teeth in preparation for their next televised sound bite?

My plan covers the same five Big Oil companies targeted by President Obama -- Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM), BP (BP), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), and Conoco Phillips (COP). The only difference is they get to keep that $41 billion over 10 years, but the kicker is that they have to invest it in renewable energy initiatives.

For those of you who don't now think I've gone off the deep end like President Obama after reading that last sentence, hear me out on why this plan makes sense.

Stock quotes in this article: XOM, BP, CVX, COP, RDS.A 

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