Gov. Haley Barbour, Paul Ryan, Republicans Gut Middle Class to Protect Big Oil

Republicans in pocket of Big Oil

Republicans in pocket of Big Oil

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) accuses President Obama of driving up prices of oil so that Americans use less of it. Ridiculous as that sounds, he’s sticking to that story. Like most Republicans trying to shove their agendas down American’s throats, he doesn’t allow himself to be blindsided by facts. The turmoil in the Middle East is the reason for the rise in gas prices. Obama has nothing to do with that.

It’s pretty obvious that Gov. Barbour’s own financial interests lie in the prosperity of big oil. He’s been in big oil’s pocket for a long time, raising large amounts of money in campaign contributions from big oil from 1999-2003.

From ThinkProgress: But it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Barbour continues to shill for the oil and gas industry. Barbour raised significant amounts in campaign contributions from the industry, and from 1999 to 2003, was a lobbyist for various energy interests. Even as oil was touching Mississippi shores in the summer of 2010, Barbour downplayed the effects of the catastrophic spill. A ThinkProgress review of IRS documents revealed that with Barbour at the helm, the RGA received over $5 million in contributions from the oil and gas industry – including four of the Big Five oil companies – in just one year:

• $1,000,000 from David Koch, $25,000 from Koch Industries
• $625,000 from Exxon Mobil
• Over $150,000 from Chevron
• $50,000 from Shell
• $25,000 from ConocoPhillips

Republicans shills for Big Oil blame the Gulf drilling moratorium for higher gas prices, failing to acknowledge that domestic production of oil has risen to its highest level since 2002.

Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is the House Budget Committee Chair, proposes to keep the $40 million in tax breaks that benefit Big Oil. He also wants to get rid of investments in clean energy technology as well as big cuts to medical research and education.

From the Center for American Progress:

In addition to receiving $40 billion of unnecessary tax breaks, Big Oil does not pay its fair share of royalties for oil and gas produced from publicly owned waters. The Government Accountability Office estimates that a loophole in a 1990s oil-and-gas law could deprive the treasury of $53 billion in lost royalties. In February, the House Republicans overwhelmingly voted against recovering these royalties. Although Ryan’s budget claims that it “stops spending money the government doesn’t have,” it does nothing to recoup these forgone funds. This is another gift for Big Oil, paid for by middle-class taxpayers who must suffer the consequences of other steep spending cuts.

The proposed budget resolution doesn’t just contain billions of dollars of welfare for Big Oil. It would also slash investments in the research, development, and deployment of the clean energy technologies of the future. It would cut clean energy investments [1] by more than half for FY 2011, by two-thirds for FY 2013, and by 90 percent in 2014 to just $1 billion. This will take us back to the miserly clean energy budgets of President Bush.

The proposed budget would weaken the economy and increase the deficit by disinvesting in long-term economic growth the clean-tech sector fosters. For instance, the electric vehicles of the future will require advanced batteries, and the American economy will benefit if those batteries are made here. The federal government invested seed money beginning in 2009 to launch such an industry here. Former Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) observed that “Just as a result of federal policy on batteries alone…have attracted 17 [battery] companies who are projected to create 63,000 jobs.”
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Suffice it to say that protecting Big Oil benefits the Republicans primarily. Big Oil lines their pockets with cash in the form of campaign contributions and they have no problem with protecting those contributions while gutting the middle class American.

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Republicans receive far more campaign money from the oil and gas industry than do Democrats.

So far in 2010, the oil and gas industries have contributed $12.8 million to all candidates, with 71% of that money going to Republicans. During the 2008 election cycle, 77% of the industry’s $35.6 million in contributions went to Republicans, and in the 2008 presidential contest, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain received more than twice as much money from the oil and gas industries as Obama: McCain collected $2.4 million; Obama, $898,000.

From PoliticusUSA

Republicans are not feeling overly generous to the oil industry; they are protecting future campaign contributions and pacifying their corporate masters like the Koch brothers and conservative think tanks who control the media. It is much easier to cut services for the poor and gut programs that protect the environment than to raise the ire of conservatives. There were 12 Democrats who voted with Republicans to continue oil subsidies, so in fairness, selling out to big oil is not limited to Republicans; there are sleazy politicians on both sides of the aisle. However, every Republican voted to extend the subsidies much like most Republicans are attempting to eliminate collective bargaining arrangements with unions. If states were as cash-strapped as they claim, they would not continue giving tax breaks to corporations that add to the deficits. Republicans cannot even make compromises by rolling back corporate tax breaks and eliminating some programs that are redundant or wasteful. It is just not in Republicans’ mindset to raise taxes on the wealthy or corporations

Middle class Americans continue to get soaked at the gas pumps while Republicans in the pockets of Big Oil continue to protect welfare to the oil companies.

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