Gas prices have been edging up since February, reaching $4 a gallon this Easter, and Republicans are gearing up to make a stink about it.
To blame Democrats, that is, for setting things up this way. Blaming green energy initiatives for driving up prices, House Republicans are planning to hold hearings on a slurry of bills aimed at expanding domestic oil production in response to high gasoline prices. Even the president admits gas prices effect his standing in the polls.
But it should be easy enough to fight back. While the five biggest oil companies report historically high profit earnings, the same GOP that would slash juice programs for poor kids in school stands firm for federal subsidies for big oil.
It’s enough to make your head spin. But then again, so is this country’s entire relationship with Big Oil. Like a marriage from hell. Americans keep getting beaten up environmentally, politically and at the pump. And even as we’re beaten up, we shell out: in subsidies, tax breaks, and troops sent around the world to die and kill in defense of the interests of Big Oil.
While Americans keep paying; Big Oil keeps on profiting. The top five companies together made a greasy trillion dollars profit over the last decade. That’s Trillion with a T. Yet Republican budgets would lay off the regulators even as they lay on the corporate welfare. House Republicans marked the anniversary of the BP oil spill by voting unanimously FOR extending oil subsidies again this year.
It’ll come as no surprise that for its first round of political contributions for the 2012 cycle, BP handed out a total $29,000 and it went almost entirely to House Republican leaders. The president’s response so far has been to initiate a task force to investigate illegal commodities trading. But as Public Citizen reports, it’s not the illegal but the legal speculation that’s most to blame.
And progressive Democrats offer the president a far stronger way to go. Tax dirty energy companies, end corporate welfare, and impose a tax on commodities trading. Instead of getting on the defensive and easing up on drilling, the White House should ask Senator Bernie Sanders about his end-to-subsidies bill.
The president needs to take a moral stand against Big Oil for all our sakes, before Drill Baby Drill becomes Gouge Us Baby One More Time.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.