Ending U.S. Federal Subsidies for Oil Companies to Drill

Boston, MA (From the road, with visits to Lynn and Marblehead)

I had the unexpected opportunity yesterday to hear the Governor Patrick of the State of Massachusetts and local Boston U.S. Congressman Ed Markey – Chair of the House Select Committee on Energy and Environment –talk to a meeting of union activists who will be canvassing local Boston voters to ascertain their concerns before the next elections.  I spoke briefly with the congressman.

Markey has been instrumental in the recent attempts to repeal Bush-era federal legislation that grants subsidies to oil companies to encourage them to drill for oil in US territory. As he pointed out, this seems especially inappropriate at a time when oil prices are about double what they were when these subsidies were adopted. The congressman explained how he felt there was no need for such encouragement now, especially at taxpayer expense and when there is such concern to reduce the federal deficit.   (I thank my old friend and union organizer/analyst here in Boston for inviting me.)

My next post, in a day or two, will be on what I see as: “The Pragmatic Turn in Venezuelan Foreign Policy.” This is a complex (and controversial) topic and it will occupy many future posts. However, first one has to establish whether this turn is or is not actually taking place … and only then can we analyze what the implications and effects, for better or worse, might be.


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