That is the amount of money the federal government could stand to save if it heeds the advice of one group calling for the end of subsidies for toxic polluters.
The Green Scissors Campaign issued a report this week and is pushing it to the congressional “Super Committee,” tasked with creating a plan to reduce the nation's deficit by $1.5 trillion. If the report's recommendations are implemented, the proposed subsidy cuts could reach a quarter of that goal in the next five years.
Possible subsidy cuts include energy, agriculture, transportation, and land and water -- with two major issues that are close to home for the Prairie State.
First there’s the high cost of fossil fuel. GOPers are constantly underestimating the effects of climate change and refuse to support renewable energy investments or carbon emissions caps. In a 2009 report, Environment Illinois projected that the state of Illinois will spend $1.074 trillion between 2010 and 2030 on oil, coal, and other forms of fossil fuel. And if current consumption habits aren't altered, that amounts to a $1,624 increase per person in combined fossil fuel costs in the year 2030. The Green Scissors report identifies $61,275,000,000 in conventional fossil fuel subsidies that should be cut.
Then there’s commodity crop farming that is already being slammed by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) in a separate effort to also curb the nation’s obesity problem. IL PIRG this month launched a photo petition against subsidies for these corporate farmers who produce corn and soy cheaply enough to keep junk food plentiful. This is why obesity grows as corporate farmers get rich -- and they do so with taxpayer support in the form of billions from agricultural subsidies. The Green Scissors report identifies $7,945,000,000 for corn subsidies alone.