Imagine this for a moment. You’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean, and you notice a hole in the hull where water is pouring in. The boat is starting to sink. You have two choices: you could either throw your provisions overboard or you could fix the hole. What do you do?
You’d better hope that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) isn’t your captain. Fixing the hole, he would argue, is difficult. You might have to sacrifice your seat cushion or your tailored shirt to fill the gap. You might lose that cushy luxury or be forced to wear a mismatched tie.
It would be much better, according to Captain Cantor, to throw everything else overboard. The oars, your life jackets, the cooler full of food, and heck, even some expendable children and elderly sailors. But you could keep sitting on your cushions. Without all the extra weight, the boat will stay afloat -- at least for a couple more minutes.
In negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, Captain Cantor is threatening to sink the American economy and undermine environmental protections so that his wealthy friends, including big oil corporations, can keep sitting on their cushions. Sign our petition to tell Cantor to get his priorities straight.
As a lead House Republican negotiator in striking a deal to raise the nation’s debt limit -- allowing our government to pay its bills -- Cantor is steering the nation toward an economic crisis. Failure to raise the debt limit could result in higher unemployment, force the government to delay Social Security checks, and drastically reduce the funding available to enforce bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.1
Why is Captain Cantor willing to watch the boat sink? It comes back to seat cushions.2 He absolutely refuses to ask polluting corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share. Late last week, his negotiating team rejected proposals to eliminate subsidies for big oil, corn ethanol and private jets.3
Enough is enough. It’s time to provoke a mutiny in the ranks. In particular, House Republicans who are in vulnerable electoral seats need to see that Cantor’s way is unacceptable to voters.
Add your name to our petition to send Cantor and all House Republicans the message that sinking our economy and threatening our environment in order to protect corporate polluters and millionaires is unacceptable.
This whole debate is part of a broader fight over priorities. Does government exist to advance the well being of everyone in the boat or just a wealthy few corporations and individuals that can afford high-priced lobbyists? Is a healthy environment worth more than maintaining the profit lines of big oil and coal companies?
Because this broader fight is one we must win, Friends of the Earth is launching a new initiative next week -- the Earth Budget campaign -- to push for comprehensive budget solutions that prioritize people and the planet over polluters. Our country isn’t broke, and we can protect the environment and advance the public good while reducing deficits.
As we gear up to make an impact in the broader fight over priorities, we need to hold Cantor and House Republicans accountable now. Sign our petition to tell Cantor to prioritize people over polluters!
Thanks for standing up for the environment,
Economic policy director, Friends of the Earth
1. "The risks of debt default on the economy and jobs." Center for American Progress Action Fund, July 7, 2011.
2. "GOP lawmaker refuses to believe the fact that Rep. Eric Cantor is shorting U.S. treasury bonds." Think Progress, July 8, 2011.
3. "Plan B emerges on debt." Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2011.