End taxpayer payouts to big oil companies
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 14:04
The recent “Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act,” which was not passed, would have stopped Big Oil from receiving federal subsidies amounting to $24 billion and allowed for an estimated 37,000 new American jobs in the field of wind energy and other sustainable clean energy alternatives.
The bill needed 60 votes to pass the senate but failed with only 51 senators in support of the act. Out of the bill’s supporters, 47 were Democrats and two were Republicans. On the contrary, 47 senators voted against the bill, with 43 being Republican and four being Democrats. Falling short by nine votes, the bill was stopped in its tracks.
What is most interesting thing about this turnout, though, is that the majority who voted against the bill, which were primarily Republicans with the exception of four Democrats, had collectively earned $23.5 million dollars in friendly contributions from Big Oil, as opposed to the supporters of the bill who only received about $5.9 million. The correlation is surely evident.
The GOP was largely against this bill, criticizing it for failing to provide subsidies for these multibillion dollar oil companies, which would cause an increase in the already high gas prices. Republicans have continually advocated for the increase of our drilling in the U.S. as the solution to lower the cost of gas. However, we know from history that this is not the case.
The Associated Press took a 36-year statistical analysis on the correlation between the prices of oil and U.S. domestic oil production increase. The study found no correlation. Although U.S. production of oil has increased by 15 percent since 2009, gas prices have still risen $1.51 per gallon on average, which is certainly something college students and the average U.S. citizen have been experiencing and have not at all been pleased with. The only thing that subsidies on oil companies have done is essentially make the rich richer.
It is profoundly imperative that we start thinking with our heads instead of our wallets and investing not in oil but in innovative solutions, as drilling is proving to be insufficient. Harvesting environmentally friendly and sustainable energies in the long run would be more profitable because we’d be weaning off our incredible dependence on foreign oil, all while not having to drill in pristine and largely remote environments like the Arctic, something which Royal Dutch Shell PLC is planning to take on after recently receiving approval.
The challenge in solving this problem is that many politicians, primarily Republicans, denounce the idea of moving from the old forms of gathering energy to new innovative forms, mainly because they are profiting from supporting oil companies. To quote Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on it.” This is why voicing your opinions, petitioning and calling your congressman are vital. It lets them know: “Hey, we know what’s happening, we don’t like it and we want to change that.”
American innovation has been on the decline, and it’s time for that to change. We must return to the America that was known for innovation by taking leadership in the development of sustainable energy, not only for us but in order to secure an exceptional future for generations to come.