Baxter Pharr: Greed rules GOP climate bill obstruction
July 25, 2010
Last week, the U.S. Senate gave up on trying to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill. With all 40 Republican senators essentially agreeing to oppose anything and everything the Democrats proposed (after losing out on health care reform), the bill didn’t have the 60 votes needed to become law. Apparently the two most important questions for a Republican Senator are: “Will this hurt my pocketbook?” and “Will this hurt corporate profits?’ In fact, even Lindsay Graham (who helped write the bill) and John McCain (who co-sponsored the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act and assured the American people that climate change was one of the most important issues facing America) decided to toe the party line rather than follow their convictions. As the largest emitter per capita of greenhouse gases in the world, the U.S. was the only industrialized nation in the world (out of 188 nations) that didn’t ratify the Kyoto Protocol. If other countries get it, the scientific community gets it, and the average citizen gets its, why don’t Republican senators get it?While a huge grassroots movement was sending money to environmental groups, e-mailing their senators, signing petitions and organizing rallies, the powerful oil lobby was wining and dining the very same senators and stuffing all kinds of goodies in their wallets. You see, thanks to the worst decision in the U.S. Supreme Court’s history (a vote which was 5-4 down party lines), corporations can now spend unlimited amounts of money to promote their special interests. We now have (thanks to the Republican-stacked Supreme Court) a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. So what if oil-soaked birds are littering our beaches, so what if millions of acres of forests lie decimated by the pine beetle, if it’s good for corporate profits then it’s good for the planet. While average workers’ inflation-adjusted salaries actually declined from 2000-2009, the average CEO now makes about 320 times the average worker (up from 42 times an average workers salary in 1980). With the average S&P 500 CEO making $9.25 million in 2009 while millions of workers were getting laid off and losing their houses, there’s no wonder there’s plenty of cash available to wine and dine all those senators.