Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Budget Committee chairman, released a federal budget proposal that doubles down on the idea that we should subsidize fossil fuel companies at the expense of clean energy. I’d love to be more impartial than that, but if you get into the weeds on this thing, I don’t know what other conclusion can be drawn.
Not that there’s much new here from the same effort Rep. Ryan released this time last year. (I’m saving myself the time of writing something new and just linking to last year’s blogs on the topic. Honestly everything still applies.)
In fact, comparing this year’s budget proposal to last year’s version, it’s eye-opening what little is new and what language has been removed. Nothing highlights how much this is an exercise in political theater more than seeing much of the same language cut and pasted word for word from the previous year, as though twelve months didn’t just happen (I’m talking to you rapid scale-up of domestic oil and gas extraction). Or the editorial tweaks of certain terms and phrases that must test better.
See for yourself. Below is a comparison of this year’s opening language to last year. I had to do a bit of moving text around and edit some boilerplate/process language to avoid running too long, but otherwise, this is a pretty simple cut and paste.
And here’s the amazing thing. Rep. Ryan has done the seeming impossible. He’s made last year’s version look moderate in comparison. Studies and anecdotes are repurposed in an overblown and misleading fashion to attack clean energy. In fact, there’s not a single positive statement about clean energy…the one polite statement about renewable energy from last year has been completely excised.
It’s frustrating and unfortunate – boosting clean energy should really be a bipartisan exercise…I mean, don’t take it from me, take it from 2011 Rep. Ryan:
“environmental stewardship and economic growth are not mutually exclusive goals”