Green Scissors: Bipartisan Budget Cuts That Work

Green Scissors—a team of environmentalists, independents, and libertarians—has identified $700 billion in federal spending that wastes money as it harms the environment.

| January/February 2013

In late 2012, as legislators gathered to debate the necessity of tax cuts and social programs, the Green Scissors Campaign presented the public with a plan for $700 billion in real bipartisan budget cuts, reports Scientific American (September 21, 2012). On the organization’s list: $158.7 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, $167.09 billion in agricultural subsidies, $125.8 billion in general revenue transfers to the Highway Trust Fund, and $24.99 billion in environmentally damaging projects on public land or with public water.

Since 1994, environmental group Friends of the Earth and non-partisan watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense have teamed up as Green Scissors to identify programs that waste money as they harm the environment. For the 2012 recommendations, the two groups worked with free market think tank R Street (founded by former members of the libertarian Heartland Institute).

“Whether it’s getting rid of high-risk energy loan guarantees, reining in wasteful crop insurance or ending lucrative oil and gas tax breaks, eliminating wasteful spending that harms the environment just makes sense,” says Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Spending cuts like these mean challenging powerful corporations, and no matter who controls the House and Senate, little progress will be made toward healing the economy or the planet until we substitute corruption with cooperation.