During the budget debate, Republicans raised concerns about the deficit to slash spending on financial regulators, the EPA, food stamps, Pell grants, Metro funding, and dozens of other programs that either protect consumers or provide assistance to middle-class Americans. However, when given a chance to end $4 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies, Republicans, along with a few conservative Democrats, voted to extend them. At the sparsely attended “Continuing Revolution” Tea Party rally last Thursday, ThinkProgress spoke to a number of attendees about the GOP’s decision to give over $40 billion over 10 years in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. A few Tea Party members refused to comment, but every person who was willing to go on record voiced opposition to the oil subsidies supported by the GOP:
FANG: A few weeks ago there was a little known vote, and the House of Representatives voted to extend forty billion dollars in taxpayer money, money that is basically borrowed from China and other countries, to give subsidies to the big oil companies. Forty billion dollars over ten years. What do you think about that?
TEA PARTIER 1: I don’t think the oil companies — we don’t need to subsidize them [...]
FANG: Do you think those taxpayer subsidies are justified? [...]
TEA PARTIER 2: No, we’re not happy about that. [...]
TEA PARTIER 3: No, they should not have given big oil, big oil has enough to do their own.
TEA PARTIER 4: Let’s cut that, the subsidies, sure.
The real Boston Tea Party, as Thom Hartmann has explained, was a revolt against the East India Company corporation and its oligarchical control over the American colonies. The GOP leadership has hoped that oil company-funded groups, like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, can fool current Tea Partiers and other Americans into supporting more giveaways to big oil companies. But when you actually talk to rank and file members, they too are disgusted with the GOP’s loyalty to massively profitable oil companies.