35 Congressmen Move to Kill $122 Billion in Subsidies to Big Oil


Photo credit: EricaJoy via Flickr/CC BY

Who likes oil subsidies? Nobody! Nobody but the oil companies, that is. But as we know, these subsidies, which American taxpayers annually spend billions of dollars on, are extremely difficult to kill. But 35 US congressmen and women are going to try: They've just drafted a motion to the so-called 'super committee' charged with reducing the deficit, asking it to remove $122 billion worth of oil subsidies from the federal budget. The coalition drafted a letter to the committee chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). From the letter (via Think Progress Green):

In the current budgetary environment, the United States can no longer afford to give away billions of dollars every year to corporations earning billions of dollars in profits and costing American taxpayers twice: at the pump and through the tax code. We urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to consider eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels as an excellent source of deficit reducing savings. According to a coalition of organizations, eliminating subsidies to the fossil fuels industry could reduce our national debt by up to $122 billion over ten years.
$122 billion is a lot of cash to be directing towards some of the most profitable companies in the world. Can anyone think of anything that could use $122 billion more than Exxon or Chevron? I certainly can't. After all, our nation's infrastructure is in tip-top shape, it's not like we're in the middle of a foreclosure crisis or anything, everyone is employed, and we've already got more clean energy than we know what to do with!


The absurdity of continuing to subsidize big oil highlights everything that's wrong with our politics -- the subsidies are highly unpopular, and a majority of Americans would gladly see them go. And any of the above mentioned projects could certainly use an influx of $122 billion in federal funding. But since oil companies hold so much sway in DC, politicians are willing to go to bat for them regardless -- just watch Mitch McConnell shamefully claim that removing the subsidies would be 'raising taxes' and therefore unfair for proof. It's yet another reason why the Occupy Wall Street movement is still gaining steam, and inspiring the green movement, too.

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