Thursday saw the Senate Republicans block President Obama’s attempt to end tax breaks for large oil companies. The vote was 51-47 with four Democrats voting against the bill and one Republican supporting the bill.
If the bill had passed the Senate, and somehow made it through the House, the $2 billion or so dollar a year in tax breaks/subsidies for large oil companies would have been used to development clean energy solutions and to pay down the national debt.
But now that is not going to happen. So what does that mean for the average American? Well more of the same – and there is the problem.
Gas prices are not going down and wages are not going up. Rather than further fund clean energy and alternative fuel projects, in an effort to get off oil, and also paying down the national debt, the tax breaks are going to continue and the prices of oil and gas are going to continue to increase. We should note that the 47 Senators (43 Republicans and 4 Democrats) who voted against procedural hearing to bring the bill to the table have received over $23.5 million in career contributions from Big Oil. As for the 51 Senators who voted for the bill? They have received a paltry-by-comparison $5.8 million.
Granted, how much of an impact removing these tax breaks on big oil would have at the pump is questionable. Nothing would change overnight. However, America needs to break with big oil and seek out other alternatives. Of course there are going to be Solyndras, not everything is going work or be a success. It is a building and evolutionary process — an evolution that is sorely needed in America.
The needed change is not happening and both the Republican and Democrats are to blame. Rather than focusing on winning the election, party squabbling, and their own political futures; our representatives need to look at the needs of the people who put them into office and tend to those needs.
In turn, the voters need to start keeping score cards of how their elected officials are doing – are they keeping their campaign promises, are they acting with the needs of the voters in mind, can you get in touch with them? When the score cards come in poor than the voters need to vote that official out. Let us try to look beyond the Red and Blues of politics and back to the needs of the people and moving the U.S. forward.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison