In case you live under a rock, there’s a bit of a hullaballoo over the federal budget right now, with a congressional “Super Committee” (co-chaired by Washington Senator Patty Murray) tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction measures by Thanksgiving.
Well, if they’re looking for cuts, the latest Green Scissors report, put together by a coalition of groups from across the political spectrum, has some pretty good suggestions. Trimming subsidies to fossil fuels ($61 billion), nuclear power ($50 billion), big agriculture ($57 bilion), highways ($107 billion) and so on would go a long way towards meeting the committee’s deficit reduction goals. The problem, of course, is that the handful of folks who benefit from any particular subsidy fight tooth and nail to preserve it…while the costs are spread out so thin that most of us don’t even realize we’re paying them. It’s that sort of asymmetry that makes anti-environmental subsidies especially hard to root out.
We’ve been a big fan of curbing Hazardous Handouts for well over a decade. Let’s hope that the idea catches on—and that a congressional committee charged with “fiscal responsibility” manages to exercise some actual fiscal responsibility.
If you’re interested in the topic and you happen to be in Seattle, there’s a discussion tonight (Monday, August 29) at Town Hall, from 7 to 8:30. Be there, or be square!
Georgie Bright Kunkel
We do not have citizen controlled government when subsidies
can be doled out to profit making corporations. Capitalism is supposed to be our economic system but it is not real capitalism when the government provides subsidiees and bails it out when
the economy goes bad.
Notice that every depression came after a war. When the war industries cream off their profits from government spending the economy suffers.
Then government bails out the failing corporations and banks and we start over with the next war becoming imminent. Not a great system.