Sacrificing the people

Partisanship is rampant in Washington, but we like to think that the officials we elected still have their constituents’ interests at heart.
After a plea by President Barack Obama, a majority of U.S. senators last week voted to end $4 billion in tax subsidies oil and natural gas companies receive every year. That should have been good news for a cash-strapped government with a perilously high deficit, but it was not. Sixty votes were needed to clear a filibuster, and the vote for ending the subsidies was 51 to 47.
Both Alabama senators — Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile — voted against ending the subsidies.
Opponents argued the subsidies help keep gas prices down. Given that gas prices are going up almost as fast as the profits of oil companies, the claim is dubious. The intense — and effective — Big Oil lobbying effort that preceded the vote reaffirms the suspicion that the subsidies help corporate interests, not consumers.
In the name of deficit reduction, our elected officials are attacking programs like Medicare that benefit the people. At the same time, they are giving tax breaks to corporations that don’t need them.
Whoever they are answering to, it’s not the people.


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Filed under Energy, Subsidies

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