Beating its own record to rack up the largest annual corporate profit in American history, Exxon Mobil Corp. said Friday it earned $40.6 billion for the year, reaping the benefits of crude-oil prices around $100 a barrel. Exxon Mobil also topped its own record for profit in a single quarter, posting net income of $11.7 billion for the final three months of the year - about $1 billion more than the same period in 2005, the previous quarterly record. And the quarterly profit alone is about the same as the size of the entire economy of Iceland or Namibia.Oh, those greedy corporate oligarchs, taking food off the tables of starving children. Don't forget that this sort of news attracts all the usual political buzzards:
Chevron Corp., No. 2 behind Exxon Mobil among U.S. oil companies, also had its best year ever in 2007, saying Friday that it banked a profit of $18.7 billion. With the economy weakening and the prospect of $4-a-gallon gas looming for spring and summer, the hefty oil profits immediately renewed charges that Big Oil was profiting at the expense of most Americans.
Within hours of Exxon Mobil and Chevron reporting their results, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, urged Congress to repeal tax breaks for the oil industry. "Congratulations to Exxon Mobil and Chevron - for reminding Americans why they cringe every time they pull into a gas station and for reminding Washington why it needs to act swiftly to break our dependence on foreign oil and roll back unnecessary tax incentives for oil companies," Schumer said.Three times in the story they breathlessly wail about $100/barrel oil (it closed today at $88, by thte way) and never mentioned two important facts. First is that Exxon Mobil alone paid $30 billion in taxes in 2007. They paid $28 billion in 2006. That's $58 billion into government coffers over two fiscal year. No other compnay has ever paid that sort of tax bill over two years. There are entire sectors of our economy don't contribue $58 billion over two years.
Oh yea, that money goes through the formality of the treasury right to the clowns, liars, cheats and finks in the US House of Representatives who use it to buy votes to get themselves reelected. By the way Senator Schumer, what sort of "tax breaks" are the oil companies enjoying since they are they are paying 41% to demagauges like you.
The second thing unreported is how these profits were not divided among only 15 or 20 old, fat, white guys in suits who eat red meat 8 times each day. That's not reported because Exxon Mobil, like all the other oil companies is publicly traded. Anyone can own a piece of Big Oil, and many of us do in mutual funds in our 401(k) plans. Those who portray oil profits as some unattainable club for others are fooling themselves and they hope you go along with them. It's like craving the sunshine but being too obstanant to come out from under the shade of the tree.
So when you hear the feet stomping and the alligator tears over the profits from big oil make sure you ask the right questions of those who thing they have all the answers.