05/21/2013 03:28 pm ET Updated Jul 21, 2013

Budget Offsets to Pay for Tornado Relief: End Subsidies to Oil Companies

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is adamant that spending offsets need to be found to pay for disaster relief, even for his home state.

If that is what he wants, perhaps we should give it to him. Other senators from other states may view their own states differently, but this Coburn's state and it is what he wants.

The most obvious place to cut spending is to eliminate subsidies for oil companies. No program for the poor and middle class need be touched.

Just eliminate the taxpayer subsidies that enable the top five oil companies to earn $118B instead of $116B they would earn without them.

[To those who reply that we should also end subsidies to wind, solar, and so forth, my answer is this: when we have subsidized those industries for 70 years, we can talk about it. When we do, please let us also count the costs of pollution for which the oil industry never paid and we can engage in a fruitful discussion of equities].

Ending oil industry subsidies to pay for clean-up and restitution from a climate catastrophe feels fitting.

It will raise the money to satisfy Coburn, and make a point that cannot be overemphasized.