Green Scissors Report Suggests $380 Billion in Savings by Killing Subsidies and Spending

Sometimes, changing current methods of doing things has an economic gain. In a groundbreaking report released by Green Scissors, a coalition between four organizations confirms that cutting wasteful and environmentally harmful spending would do just that. The Green Scissors 2011 report  has been released by four organizations: progressive environmental group Friends of the Earth, deficit hawk Taxpayers for Common Sense, consumer watchdog Public Citizen and free-market think tank The Heartland Institute.

The Green Scissors Campaign was initiated in 1994 and since then has fought to make environmental and fiscal responsibility priorities in Washington. According to the campaign website: 

“The campaign seeks to eliminate subsidies and programs that both harm the environment and waste taxpayer dollars. By making these cuts, the federal government can save money for priorities including deficit reduction.”

All four of these groups have different missions, goals and ideas about governmental roles and politics. However they have formed Green Scissors in the common basis ” to overcome our nation’s budgetary and environmental woes by tackling spending that is not only wasteful but environmentally harmful.”

These groups propose that subsidies for fossil fuel, nuclear and alternative energy to be cut. They are also targeting giveaways of publicly owned timber, road projects and water projects. As the report notes:

“To get our nation’s spending in check we will need to end wasteful programs and policies. They not only cost us up front, but also create additional financial liabilities down the road and threaten our nation’s fragile land, air and water. In addition, we need to ensure that we receive a fair return on government assets. From the more than a century old 1872 Mining Law that gives away precious metals — like gold and copper — on federal lands for free, to $53 billion in lost oil and gas revenues from royalty free leases in federal waters granted in the late 1990s, to the $6 billion per year ethanol tax credit, there are dozens of reforms that can return hundreds of bil¬lions to taxpayers while helping to address our nation’s top environmental priorities.”

The report consolidates the damages that government spending does to the environment and proposes methods for alternatives. A memo to the congressional Super Committee states that incorporating the suggestions from Green Scissors would yield $380 billion in savings. In the middle of a debt crisis, the Green Scissors report is a much needed suggestion for governmental authorities to rethink the way resources are allocated. Wasteful spending and tax breaks should be curbed in order for the United States to come out of the current fiscal crisis. Wise budget cuts will also help the environment which will generate billions of dollars in income in the long run.

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also

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