The cynicism of Democrats and the Obama administration grows ever more audacious with each new proposal they take advantage of a crisis to push. It’s well known that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel subscribes to a philosophy of what he once described as, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” To that end, the White House is using the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to push their job-killing carbon cap-and-trade legislation. But Senate Democrats have their own cynical legislative proposal this week, which uses the oil spill as an excuses to raise taxes to expand the oil spill clean-up trust fund, but then raids the fund to instead pay for other spending, like state Medicaid bailouts.
According to the AP, “Senate Democrats yesterday brought up a measure that would couple a fivefold increase in the tax oil companies pay into a spill fund with help for the jobless, doctors, and cash-starved states.” The Wall Street Journal explains, “The industry—or consumers—could also pay in the form of higher taxes. Legislation pending in the Senate would increase a per-barrel tax paid by oil companies to 41 cents, up from 8 cents, raising $14 billion over 10 years. The tax is supposed to support a government fund created in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez spill to help fund cleanup projects.”
However, Democrats are planning raid the money collected for this trust fund to pay for their other spending priorities, like $24 billion to bail out irresponsible state governments. Bloomberg News notes, “Democrats unveiled a revised plan yesterday that calls for trimming a House-passed tax increase on so-called carried interest, quintupling a levy on oil companies and sending an additional $24 billion to state governments to help fill holes in their budgets. Other provisions would extend unemployment benefits, restore a series of tax cuts, increase municipal bond subsidies and increase Medicare payments to doctors.” But, the Bloomberg story adds, “The Senate measure was criticized by Republicans, who said Democrats were proposing to use proceeds from the oil-tax increase to pay for jobless benefits and other expenditures rather than shoring up the trust fund to pay to clean up oil spills such as the ongoing one in the Gulf Coast.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained in his remarks this morning, “Democrats are using this bill as another opportunity to extend government’s reach. Desperate for funds to bail out government programs, they’re raiding a trust fund that was created — get this — to pay for just the kind of cleanup we now need in the Gulf. . . . In other words, they’re using the crisis in the Gulf not only as cover for even more government spending, but as a major source of funding for it. This is an outrage. And it should give every American a window into the Democrat approach to spending as well as their lack of seriousness about the debt; they just can’t restrain themselves. That’s the only possible excuse for raiding this trust fund for unrelated government spending.”
Raising taxes under the guise of paying into a fund to clean up oil spills only to siphon those funds off to pay for ever more but unrelated government spending, is galling, cynical, but sadly entirely typical of how Democrats in Congress and the Obama White House have chosen to govern.