Defending taxpayer subsidies for oil companies, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) claimed yesterday that the government is a “profiteer” who takes gas taxes and puts the revenues into “phony green jobs”:
Let’s talk about subsidies. We hear about subsidies. Well, you know, there is a profiteer when it comes to oil. 36 to 63 cents per gallon is swept off the top. And who profits from that? The government profits from it. And what does the government do with much of that money? It puts it into so-called “alternative energy,” with so-called phony “green jobs” that we’re yet to see being produced. Wind and solar, et cetera.
Fleming’s attack is doubly nonsensical. Firstly, the federal gas tax revenues go into the Highway Trust Fund, effectively subsidizing gasoline consumption. The small percentage of the fund that goes to alternative transit actually helps drivers by reducing congestion and lowering demand for gasoline, keeping prices low.
Secondly, green jobs are not only real, they’re providing economic power to Louisiana itself.
“We have trained over 2000 professional students without any federal money to do so,” Stephen Shelton, executive director of the Louisiana CleanTech Network, tells ThinkProgress. “All students paid for the class with their own money. Over 400 companies have developed solar businesses that employ real green jobs workers. We started a new company in Houston and last year sold over 50,000,000 of real solar panels that were installed by real solar workers on real buildings and are producing real electricity.”
As it turns out, the only thing that’s phony is Fleming’s concern for the future of the nation’s economy.