National policy regarding fossil fuel subsidies keeps getting distorted by campain contributions

| May 11, 2012 | 1 Reply

At United Republic, Bill McKibben reports on the obscene amount of Big Oil lobbying each year in Congress.  It amounts to $146 Million per year.  Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison have launched a new bill that dramatically cuts subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.   McKibben notes that no member of Congress makes rational arguments in favor of fossil fuel subsidies.   No arguments need to be made, because money talks:

According to Open Secrets, the oil and gas industry has already spent $37.6 million lobbying the federal government in the first few months of the year alone. They also spend buckets of money on campaign contributions to persuade our elected officials to vote for policies they favor. A recent vote in the Senate revealed just how persuasive campaign cash can be. A bid to end taxpayer subsidies for the five biggest oil companies failed to get the 60 votes it needed. The 57 senators who voted to end the subsidies received about $6 million from the oil and gas industries, compared to a whopping $24 million pocketed by the 41 senators who voted against the bill.

No wonder America is so slow to move to elementary conservation methods and sustainable energy production.   This is not a new story, of course, but a continuation of legalized bribery that infests the entire electoral system.   Even worse, this is a system that severely punishes representatives who do the right thing.

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Category: Corporatocracy, Energy, Sustainable Living

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    There’s a couple of considerations at work here. First, most oil company subsidies are manufacturing subsidies available to many industries. If Democrats wanted to get rid of these subsidies, that would be fair and they’d get a lot of support from Tea Party members, if not establishment Republicans. But they don’t want to do that. They want to take subsidies that oil companies qualify for, and then specifically exclude them. I don’t see how that can be interpreted as anything other than punitive. Second, corporate welfare is a big issue and I think we should get rid of it. If Democrats are serious, they should work with some of the true believers in the Tea Party to pass a corporate welfare reform bill that would end the Ex-Im bank, corporate bailouts, agriculture subsidies, and manufacturing subsidies, and any else I forgot about, or failing that, at least limiting subsidies to a very narrow purpose.

    And while you’re looking at campaign contributions, you should see what Democrats want to do with the money they save from ending oil subsidies. If they wanted to use it to reduce the huge deficit, that would be nice. But no, they actually want to take that money and give it to green companies. Who are big contributors to Democrats.

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