Why Hate Heating Assistance?


Fred Clark makes a very good point here. You’d think that pro-corporate Republicans like Joe Barton, Dick Cheney, and George Bush would be all in favor of low-income heating assistance programs, like LIHEAP, that allow poor families to buy oil to heat their homes—because ultimately that money just ends up in the pockets of Exxon and Shell executives. It’s corporate welfare, only it actually does some good on the side. Republicans should be all over that, right? Guess not—Congress still refuses to fund the program at the necessary levels, despite record high heating costs this winter, forcing families to rely on Venezuela for heating oil aid. The joy of seeing people freeze to death, apparently, outweighs the joy of helping everyone’s favorite oil companies out.

Also, if the GOP really wanted to lower costs for programs like LIHEAP—which, when it comes down to it, only amounts to a percent of a percentage point of the federal budget anyway—the party could support federal proposals to “weatherize” old homes, by plugging up leaks and making old homes more heat-efficient. Everyone’s utility bills will be lower in the long run, and Congress could spend less on aid. Again, this too would achieve a core Republican goal—reducing spending—and do good things. But no. Too sensible, apparently.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.