American Elephants


A friendly word for Exxon-Mobil… by The Elephant's Child

Exxon-Mobil has received huge attention since it was announced that they posted a record profit of $11.68 billion in the second quarter. Media spokesmen have huffed and puffed, announced the P-R-O-F-I-T-S in sneering language as if oil company CEOs had personally lifted our wallets, emptied our bank accounts, and put us all in the poorhouse. Democrats were gleefully beside themselves in finding someone else to blame, and demanded a new windfall profits tax. That would fix them.

No one saw fit to mention that in the same quarter, Exxon Mobil paid almost 3 times that much in taxesmore than $32 billion. (A tax bill greater than the GDP of many countries). That doesn’t count the taxes you pay on every gallon that goes into your gas tank: 12% to the federal government and differing amounts to the states. Mine is one of the highest.

When we start talking in billions, most of us are not comfortable with the figures. (How many zeros is that?). Many more people than ever before are becoming millionaires, but the billionaires live in a rarefied atmosphere that most of us don’t understand very well. It’s easy to assume that there must be something wrong with a profit of $11 billion.

Politicians, especially in an election year, prey on voter’s ignorance of matters economic. When gas prices are over $4.00 a gallon and grocery prices are climbing, people are being hit in the pocketbook. $11 billion in profit seems unimaginable, obscene.

The government is taking a far larger amount, demanding more and refusing to open known oil fields that could be producing in about 3 years. The Democrats want “windfall profits”, they want to outlaw “price gouging”, they want to “stop the speculators”, they want to distract you from the idea of drilling for oil.

In the last 10 years the top 20 U.S. and Canadian oil companies invested 50% more than they earned in efforts to produce more oil. Production in existing oil fields in the U.S. is slowing and they are having to go far afield to drill.

American corporations are among the most heavily regulated entities on earth. A corporation is a legal fiction that allows a group of people to band together to do business in the hope of making a profit. Corporations can survive a year or so of losses, but in general, if they don’t make a profit, they go out of business.

It is fashionable to think of corporations as “evil”, but the reasons for that illusion aren’t attractive. Our intelligentsia, proud of their advanced degrees, are incensed at the salaries and bonuses of corporate CEOs whom they regard as a lesser species. They do not understand business or economics, and in general, want to stamp it out.

Gas prices are dropping, but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid soldier on. Speaker Pelosi has suggested that maybe they could allow a little offshore drilling — but only on the East coast! Have a little sympathy for the oil companies. They are trying very hard to produce the petroleum you need, and they are investing (without orders from Pelosi and Reid) heavily in alternative energy. Their business is to produce the energy you need at a price you can afford. That’s how they stay in business. (No, unfortunately I’m not a stockholder).




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