Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) asked a big oil lobbyist at a House Oversight Committee hearing why taxpayers have to pay for their pollution.
Rep. Porter asked, “Your companies. They’re a part of capitalism. They invest. They take risks. They earn money. They share that money with shareholders, but my question is, why should the taxpayers have to pay for any of that? Why should taxpayers have to shell out for your salary and the cost of pollution? Why shouldn’t the companies have to bear that themselves? Let’s assume, just for a minute, that big oil companies are bad actors in a capitalist system, even if I’m ok with that, why do I have to pay? Why do taxpayers have to subsidize you and your polluting clients?”
Rep. Porter was correct. Taxpayer subsidies to big oil are a violation of free-market principles. The flip side of the coin is that big oil wants taxpayer money, then it should be regulated by the government.
This isn’t the Cold War anymore. Americans are not dependant on Big Oil and fossil fuels. National security will not be jeopardized if the giant big energy companies do not receive government subsidies.
Earth Day is the perfect time for the American people to ask themselves what Rep. Porter posed. Why are we still paying for big oil to destroy our planet?
Let’s have a true energy free market and stop propping up outdated polluters with taxpayer cash.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association