Friday, July 10, 2015

What Would $700 Billion a Year Buy?

That's how much you and I - and all American taxpayers - are giving away to fossil-fuel companies making obscene profits even before those subsidies.

How many jobs for teachers and firefighters and public maintenance workers and home care aides for your elderly parents?

How many new - safe! - bridges and highways and railways?

How much higher education for young people and health care for poor people?

How much of everything that the filthy rich don't need but you and I do?

The resulting compliance on the part of Congress and the White House has led the federal government to increase its subsidies for fossil-fuel production—paid for with our tax dollars—to $18.5 billion a year in 2012, according to the NGO Oil Change International, while restricting solar, wind, energy efficiency, and other climate-friendly alternatives to a relative pittance. No less important, Washington has declined to put a price on the fossil-fuel industry’s carbon pollution. Instead, it’s the public that pays the full cost of coal production in the form of at least 13,000 excess deaths and tens of thousands of heart attacks and asthma attacks every year. This additional favor to fossil-fuel production boosts the value of the total public subsidy to a staggering $700 billion a year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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