Friday, April 29, 2011

End Oil Subsidies - Sign Petition

The Oil Company Gusher by Robert Reich, author of Aftershock - "Let's not fool ourselves – or be fooled. There's no reason to continue to give giant oil companies a $4 billion a year tax windfall. And why stop there? Why not a windfall profits tax to the oil companies, to be used for renewable energy?" 
As Americans continue to struggle with outrageous, unstable gas prices, big oil companies continue to benefit from them.
Exxon Mobil announced Thursday a first-quarter profit of $10.6 billion — a 69% increase from last year, and a number so astronomical, Exxon executives felt the need to issue defensive statements in advance. Also unveiling massive earnings were Shell ($6.3 billion, up 30%), ConocoPhillips ($3 billion, up 44%), and of course, BP (7.1 Billion, up 16%). In all, the five largest oil companies have reaped nearly $1 trillion in profits in the last 10 years.

But more outrageous than jaw-dropping oil company profits, is the fact that our government actually rewards these companies with even more of our money for maintaining this disastrous system — to the tune of $4 billion a year in tax credits and subsidies. It's time for that to end.

It is a testament to the influence of these corporate welfare recipients, and the power of the money they shower upon congress, that so many of our leaders have continued to defend these senseless subsidies.

As recently as this March, House Republicans — while simultaneously pleading poverty and fighting for crippling budget cuts elsewhere — voted unanimously against repealing these oil subsidies, at a total cost to us of $45 billion over 10 years.

But in the face of these huge budget cuts, painful gas prices and shocking oil company profits, it is becoming harder and harder for Republicans to defend this policy.

In a surprising move, Speaker John Boehner said Monday that repealing oil subsidies "is certainly something we ought to be looking at" and that oil companies "ought to be paying their fair share." While his statement was quickly walked back the next day by an aide who said Boehner was simply trying not to "fall into the trap of defending 'Big Oil' companies" it's clear that cracks are beginning to show in the Republicans' brazen defense of senseless oil handouts.

On Tuesday, President Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to end oil subsidies, and Nancy Pelosi also sent a letter to Speaker Boehner asking him to schedule a House vote next week. Harry Reid announced he will hold a vote in the Senate as soon as possible.

The momentum is building. This is a key moment to keep the pressure on, and force every member of congress to choose: Americans, or the oil companies? They're making record profits while the CEOs earn millions...yet they get off paying their fair share of taxes while we have to do all the sacrificing!
Budget cuts for us, tax cuts for the wealthy, bailouts for the banks, corporate tax loop-holes, and tax subsidies for big oil has got to end!
Dick Cheney Admits: Deficits Don't Matter - Ellen Brown, Truthout: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney famously said, 'Deficits don't matter.' A staunch Republican, he was arguing against raising taxes on the rich; but today, Republicans seem to have forgotten this maxim. They are bent on stripping social programs, privatizing public assets and gutting unions, all in the name of 'deficit reduction.' Worse, Standard & Poor's has now taken up the hatchet. Some bloggers are calling it blackmail. This private, for-profit rating agency, with a dubious track record of its own, is dictating government policy, threatening to downgrade the government's long-held triple AAA credit rating if Congress fails to deal with its deficit in sufficiently draconian fashion."
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House GOP Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget - Carl Hulse and Jennifer Steinhauer, The New York Times News Service: "In central Florida, a Congressional town meeting erupted into near chaos on Tuesday as attendees accused a Republican lawmaker of trying to dismantle Medicare while providing tax cuts to corporations and affluent Americans. At roughly the same time in Wisconsin, Representative Paul D. Ryan, the architect of the Republican budget proposal, faced a packed town meeting, occasional boos and a skeptical audience as he tried to lay out his party's rationale for overhauling the health insurance program for retirees."
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Obama Sets an Election Trap for Paul Ryan and the Koch Brothers - Adele M. Stan, AlterNet: "Republicans are far from figuring out who will be their next presidential candidate, but Barack Obama has already decided who he's running against: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a guy who isn't even in the running - at least not yet. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, it was Ryan who put forth the draconian budget onto which nearly all House Republicans signed - a budget that would effectively end Medicare through a privatization scheme. The reasons why Republicans joined their names to such a politically risky proposition are several, but not least among them is the fact that Ryan is a favorite of David Koch and Americans For Prosperity. So, in his campaign against the Ryan plan, Obama has found his proxy for taking on the Koch machine."
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Backdoor Bailouts: Banks Play Shell Game With Taxpayer Dollars - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Bernie Sanders Newsroom: "The Federal Reserve propped up banks with big infusions of cash during the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Banks that took billions of dollars from the Fed then turned around and loaned money back to the federal government. It was a sweet deal for the bankers. They received interest payments on the government securities that were up to 12 times greater than the Fed's rock bottom rates, according to a Congressional Research Service analysis conducted for Sen. Bernie Sanders."
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