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One Dollar In, Fifty-Nine Out

Energy

Oil Change International

By Steve Kretzmann

What if you were in Vegas, and a friend told you there was a slot machine in the corner that was giving out $59 for every $1 that was put in? You’d think the machine was broken, and that it was rigged.

What if an investment advisor told you that he could get you $59 back for every $1 you gave him? That’s a 5,800 percent rate of return. Even Bernie Madoff only promised 10.5 percent. Obviously a scam, right?

Clearly this is a scam, but if you’re the oil, gas and coal industry, it’s legal and business as usual in Washington. For every $1 the industry spends on campaign contributions and lobbying in Washington, D.C., it gets back $59 in subsidies.

Here’s how it works:

  • Amount the fossil fuel industry spent during the 111th Congress (2009 & 2010) on contributions to Congress’ campaigns—$25,794,747
  • Oil and Gas lobbying total 2009—$175,454,820
  • Oil and Gas lobbying total 2010—$146,032,543
  • Total amount spent by Big Fossil in 111th Congress—$347,282,110
  • 2009 amount given to fossils in federal subsidies—$8,910,440,000
  • 2010 amount given to fossils in federal subsidies—$11,578,900,000
  • Total amount given to fossils during 111th Congress—$20,489,340,000

(Find the original Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) source for subsidies by clicking here and broken down by U.S. Federal totals by clicking here)

  • Divide the total subsidies by the total money spent by the industry and you get 59.
  • $1 in. $59 out. That’s a 5,800 percent return on political investment. Not bad.

For more information, click here.

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