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On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, their guest, Senator Jon Kyl, was asked if he supported the Democrats’ proposal to “end oil subsidies to companies earning more than a Billion dollars in profit”? Kyl opposed the idea and defended his position on the grounds that so long as we hand over the money, nobody gets hurt. You think I’m kidding? I found this exchange absolutely stunning:
 

Kyle: “If you want gas prices to rise, then [cut subsidies].”
Fox “news” Sunday – 6/26/11

I could feel the gun-barrel sticking into my ribs as he said that. “Really, Senator?” You want to defend giving tax dollars to oil companies making a BILLION DOLLARS a year in profit by charging us nearly $4/gal for gas when they CLEARLY don’t need to, on the grounds that if we don’t give them our money, they’ll take our money? Really? That’s the hill you want to die on? I’ve been offered more options in a dark alley by a man with a gun.

I’ve always noticed that Republican faith in “The Free Market” is as shallow as a pool of spit. They cite “Free Market Competition” as the panacea for keeping health care costs and insurance rates low (and what a wonderful job it’s done so far), and assuring “food safety”. There’s no need for “Regulations” because “The Free Market” will ensure no company does anything that’s not in the public interest for fear of losing customers (I suggest they Google “tainted produce America recall” or “e.coli tainted beef deaths” sometime). But when it comes to “The Public Option” or eliminating oil & gas subsidies, “The Free Market” is suddenly powerless to affect prices because… uh… well… just because. Seriously.

HERE’S A THOUGHT: How about we use those tax dollars to promote ALTERNATIVE ENERGY? You know: COMPETITION! Give people an alternative so oil companies no longer have a monopoly, leaving them with no choice but to cut their prices to attract business? Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t that PRECISELY what a “Free Market” is supposed to do?

I’m sure there are Conservatives apologists out there reading this that would argue that “alternative energy would take too long. In the meantime, gas would go up to $7 a gallon.” Bullshit. There are cars on the market NOW that get 4050, even 100 miles per gallon… or use no gas at all. 40 percent of our electricity is generated by oil. How about we redirect a few billion of those tax subsidies into Clean energy technologies such as wind & solar?

And you know what else you get when you invest all that money previously going to big oil on more fuel-efficient cars and green energy production? JOBS! Oh, but it doesn’t end there! You also reduce our dependence on foreign oil so that we can stop giving all that money to countries that hate us. We can stop worrying about what a Civil War in Libya or Iran might do to our economy by disrupting the flow of oil. And then we can all breath easier… not just because we’re creating jobs, avoiding wars and out from under the oppressive thumbs of the oil industry… but also because the air would be cleaner! But no, Kyle and the GOP think that if we don’t give the oil companies their protection-money, they’ll take the rest of the country down with them (when I think of all the Conservatives accusing Democrats of “treason!”)

So you have a choice, either give them your tax dollars now or pay more at the pump later (using those very same tax dollars you got to keep)… even if it means crashing the economy. “Hand over those subsidies or the economy gets it!” I believe that’s called “extortion”, and it’s a crime. Am I wrong?
 
(Addendum: ThinkProgress has the full clip, including a breakdown of Kyl’s [false] claims.)
 


 
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