Nothing signifies how backwards our country’s priorities are more than what we spend our money on. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), not known as a bastion of socialist sentiment, has released a report on fossil fuel subsidies around the world. Analyzing costs around the globe, spent by governments on energy in general, the IMF found that the United States spent the second most, behind China and just ahead of Russia, on subsidies with $649 billion in 2015 alone.
Forbes points out that this number is more than the U.S. defense budget and “ten times the federal spending for education.” The IMF says “Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017.” And while the fossil fuel industry continues to argue that pulling back on fossil fuel subsidies would deal a devastating blow to the global economy, and we all need to slowly continue to poison our air and water and planet, while we move to renewables, the IMF’s Christine Lagarde says that this still has to happen.
”If you look at our numbers from 2015, it is no less than about $5.2 trillion that are spent on fuel subsidies and the consequences thereof. And the Fiscal Affairs Department has actually identified, you know, how much would have been saved fiscally but also in terms of human life, if there had been the right price on carbon emission as of 2015. The numbers are quite staggering.
If that was to happen, then there would be more public spending available to build hospitals, to build roads, to build schools, and to support education and health for the people.”
To say that our country’s priorities in regards to education are backwards is not a news flash. California spends six times as much on incarcerating Californians as they do on education. This trend is a conservative trend. Just look at the current administration’s Republican-ideological work. Trump’s education secretary is interested in increasing class sizes, downsizing teachers, and cutting federal education budgets. Trump’s energy secretary is taking pictures hugging it out with fossil fuel magnates, and then helping to increase their tax subsidies.