Monday, November 07, 2005

"Compassionate Conservatives" Make A Choice: Energy Sector Friends More Valuable Than Poor, Elderly

It's a simple choice, especially for a party that claims it has "compassionate conservatives."

What's more important: protecting corporate friends in the energy sector, or providing assistance for poor and elderly Americans facing sharply higher heating bills this year?

Apparently, Congressional Republicans -- with vocal support from the Bush Administration -- would rather protect their corporate friends. They've rejected attempts by Democrats to boost funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to $5 billion, compared with the $2.2 billion outlayed in the most recent fiscal year.

Energy Secretary Sam Bodman explained why.

"That is not something I would be in favor of. That would be the equivalent of some kind of windfall profits tax," Bodman told the Senate Energy Committee on Oct. 27, just a couple of weeks after the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration revealed projections for dramatic heating cost hikes this winter.

Bodman was referring to one Democratic proposal, calling for a fund to be created -- essentially donations from the energy industry -- to cover the difference between last year's spending and the projected need. But beyond that, Republicans have rejected other proposals, using the spin line that they are concerned about the bloated federal deficit.

Of course, Congressional Republicans would have more than enough money to increase funding for the program if they would roll back the billions of pork from the recent federal highway bill. Or they could roll back the billions in corporate welfare in the recently passed energy bill.

But why would "compassionate conservatives" do that?

Bodman, ironically, told the committee that the Bush Administration is looking into ways to increase funding for the program. But if they aren't willing to get the money from the energy sector, and they aren't pushing to cut corporate welfare or other pork, exactly where do they plan to get the money?

They could increase the deficit. What's another $3 billion for an administration that has increased the deficit by more than $2 trillion in less than five years? But party leaders want the GOP to be the party of fiscal conservatives, so adding to the deficit may not be an easy sell.

What does that leave? Hmmm. Maybe Congressional Republicans could find the money from the $50 billion it wants to cut from services that aid the poor, such as curbing federal support of state child-support enforcement, reversing a court-mandated expansion of foster-care programs, and making significant changes to Medicaid, such as allowing states to add co-payments and premiums for families just above the poverty line.

Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul.


Anonymous niyad said...

we have all fallen "through the looking glass" and are now in a place totally divorced from reality. these people are not even in the same zip code--"windfall profits tax" from companies that have gouged the citizens for BILLIONS?

The french revolution was fought, in part, against an almost unbelievably arrogant regime and its aristocrats, wasn't it?

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Glenn Tyler said...

This isn't France, wacko. And thank God for it. The French revolution was an obvious mistake. Look at the place now, they can't even keep a bunch of losers in headscarfs under control..Wimps. Besides, who needs poor elderly people. They just sit around a milk a system that hard working U.S.taxpayers foot the bill for.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Ditto said...

Glenn Tyler, may you live to be 112 years old... and be an invalid by 63. You sound tough enough to sit in your own shit for a few decades.

8:10 AM  

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