Ending Oil Subsidies--the Kumbaya Moment
Who says Washington is broken! Last night on ABC News, House Speaker John Boehner came out and admitted that Congress should consider cutting Big Oil's multi-billion dollar subsidies.
"It's certainly something we should be looking at," Boehner said. "We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. They ought to be paying their fair share."
President Obama, who has estimated that getting rid of oil subsidies could save $45 billion over ten years, happily seized on the Speaker's concession today in a letter to Congressional leaders:
I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and to use those dollars to invest in clean energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. . . .
I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done.
Alas, you know how these stories end, don't you? Boehner's spokesperson Michael Steel soon jumped in to put the kibosh on the whole deal: "The speaker made clear in the interview that raising taxes was a nonstarter, and he's told the president that. He simply wasn't going to take the bait and fall into the trap of defending 'Big Oil' companies."
He won't defend 'em, but he'll still vote for their subsidies! To see how Dirty Energy's subsidies line up against cleaner alternatives, see "You Get What You Pay For" in the new issue of Sierra.