The Congress wastes $550 bn on subsidies for fossil fuels every year

Every year, the Congress spends hundreds of billions of dollars on subsidies for fossil fuels and ethanol (because it is heavily influenced by Midwestern congressional delegations).

During the year 2008, the Congress spent $550 billion on subsidies for fossil fuels, and ca. $4 bn on subsidies for ethanol, a combined amount for $554 bn during just one year.

But politicians don’t consider these amounts to be excessive.

Yet they constantly claim that the defense budget ($534 bn in FY2010) is “excessive” and “profligate” and frequently try to reduce it. But their goal is not to balance the budget – their goal is to redirect defense spending towards their pet projects, generous bloated subsidies, and lavish welfare programs that ensure that 20% of Americans are permanently dependent on the federal government.

Have these subsidies for ethanol and fossil fuels made America independent from foreign oil? No. In fact, the amount of oil consumed and imported annually by the US has increased since these subsidies were instituted in 1979.

These days, America imports 66% of the oil it consumes every year. A large percentage of that is imported from hostile countries such as Venezuela and Angola.

Here’s the source-article:

“Some of the fiercest politics in Congress are waged around ethanol, with politicians outside the Midwest growing increasingly uneasy about spending billions to subsidize something that contributes to higher food prices.

Those concerns could have added weight now that the budget deficit has become a voting issue and the ethanol industry is back seeking a five-year extension of expiring tax breaks. The industry also is pressing the government to increase the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent.

Today, a new report dumped fuel on the fire by concluding that taxpayers spent $17 billion from 2005 to 2009 to subsidize corn ethanol blends in gasoline but received little in return in so-called energy independence.

The report by the Environmental Working Group tabulated that those billions bought a sum total of .6 miles-per-gallon savings of imported oil.

For last year alone, the report, called Driving Under the Influence: Corn Ethanol and Energy Security, said that it cost taxpayers $4.8 billion last year to replace 7.2 billion gallons of gasoline with 10.6 billion gallons of ethanol.

“Sadly, the degree of energy independence derived from the American taxpayers’ massive investment in corn ethanol could have been accomplished for free by proper tire inflation and using the right grade of motor oil, driving sensibly or better enforcement of speed limits,” said the Environmental Working Group’s Craig Cox, who co-authored the report.

The ethanol industry, including the St. Louis-based National Corn Growers Association, responded today by calling the sentiments reflected in the report ”irrational and unsophisticated.”

“It is unfortunate that groups purporting to represent the environment are still criticizing the only alternative fuel, domestic ethanol, that reduces our dependence on foreign oil,” Tom Buis, CEO of the trade group Growth Energy, said in a statement.

Besides, the statement added, other energy industries get taxpayer subsidies — $550 billion for fossil fuels in 2008 alone.” –

Note that the statement of Tom Buis did NOT deny the facts about ethanol subsidies and did not attempt to undermine the arguments of ethanol opponents. It merely pointed out the subsidies for fossil fuels and repeated the same old “ethanol will make America oil-independent” mantra.

So the Congress spends $554 bn per year on unneeded, failed, bloated, unjustified fuel subsidies which have FAILED to wean America off foreign oil, but do not wish to appropriate $534 bn (a much smaller amount) to defense, which is the most important task of the federal government.


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