He called us hypocrites!
To the Editor:
In his 6/26/14 editorial, TMJ called the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) "hypocrites." VPIRG has 30,000 members, myself included, so in TMJ's eyes, all of us are hypocrites.
He believes that having a "well-funded lobby," that raked in $1.5 million two years ago, trying to get big money out of politics, is hypocritical. TMJ must know in today's world of lobbying and politicking, $1.5 million is chump change.
In 2012, more than $6 billion was spent on elections. That's $6,000,000,000! It's no wonder a 2013 Gallup Poll found that 79% of Americans want to see limits on campaign financing and 50% want to ban all contributions and have publicly financed elections.
VPIRG is fighting for limits on campaign financing. Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch spent over $400 million on the 2012 elections. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson spent over $100 million. Their goal is to elect (buy) candidates who will look out for their interests and their money!
TMJ accuses VPIRG of making "sure that their clients, primarily renewable energy companies, get kickbacks and corporate welfare from legislative mandates and taxpayer/ratepayer-funded subsidies." Not true! The largest portion of VPIRG's budget (42%) is spent on consumer protection.
Let's talk about kickbacks and corporate welfare for the fossil fuel industry. Profits in 2011 for just the five top oil companies (BP, Conoco-Phillips, Shell, Exon-Mobil and Chevron) was a record $137 billion. Taxpayers currently subsidize these five companies with $2.4 billion a year. As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimated the total value of U.S. subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at $37.5 billion annually. Why are taxpayers subsidizing companies making billions in profits annually? This makes no sense!
VPIRG is working for the people of Vermont. The majority of Vermonters (71%) support building wind energy turbines; 86% support the state's goal of getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050 and 72% say they would look more favorably on a candidate who champions clean energy, energy efficiency and climate action.
I do not know why TMJ has such disdain for a group that actively works on the issues that are important to a majority of Vermonters. He must have his reasons. Maybe he hates clean air. I wish I knew.