March 30, 2012 Dylan Ratigan

The Big Story: Why Oil Wars are Bad for America

Two of the greatest challenges facing our country — no matter who is in the White House — is America’s lack of energy independence and our gross energy inefficiency.  At the White House yesterday, the President hosted vets and discussed the real effect of us fighting for oil:

“I don’t want our kids to be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.  In America, we control our own destiny… And we will do all of this by harnessing our most inexhaustible resource of all – American ingenuity and imagination.”

Supporting innovation to solve problems is something we do like to get behind here at the DR Show.  But with gas prices largely outside of our control, and a Senate that failed to repeal millions in tax breaks for big oil, we all know that any real change is years, if not decades away, unless we push to make big changes now.

Here’s our point: we need a real debate about more efficient, lower-cost energy that doesn’t tie us to the fates of other countries.  Our troops also need a new mission when they come home from combat — why not use their talents and expertise to get us off foreign oil?  Joining us is Operation Free Iraq war vet Terron Sims (@terronll), a fellow at the Truman National Security Project who was at the White House today and Dan Gross (@grossdm), columnist and economics editor at Yahoo! Finance to learn more about the connection between oil subsidies, our energy policy, and our jobs crisis.

Our focus on the connection between big oil, returning veterans and finding innovative solutions to our energy problems is something we focused on during our 30 Million Jobs tour.  As former Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister told us last month on the tour, “If we don’t get our act together we’re going to live off the 20th century system until it falls apart and then we’re going to be out of energy, out on jobs, out of money and going to wonder what happened to them.  One of the great things military people bring to energy industry is knowledge acquisition and discipline.”  Here is he is founder of GC Green, Liz Perez. You can watch that video here:

Oil subsidies are also holding our country back from creating the 30 Million Jobs we need. “It is no secret we dump tens of billions of dollars directly into the pockets of big oil every year in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, direct from our pockets to theirs,” Brian Merchant of explained on The Dylan Ratigan Show last month. “That is a small fraction of the cost.  Even though it amounts to billions of dollars and totaled as many as $500 billion over the last 50 years or so, the real costs are the indirect ones. The oil industry can’t operate without the u.s. military providing security presence.”

$7.3 trillion just for aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf over the past couple decades,” Dylan pointed out. “That is not a cost a lot of people recognize — the American taxpayer footing the bill for but the oil company gets a huge deal. They get to use that as their own personal security detail. It’s a huge cost for American taxpayers,” explained Brian.


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Meg Robertson is a digital producer for

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