Tag Archives: excess profits

Oil Companies Taking America for a Ride!

We in Washington State like to think we are pretty smart. So do most Americans. Then why is it that most Americans can’t see that the oil companies consider us suckers?

Maybe it’s because most people can’t see the simple relationship between cause and effect. Record gas prices. Record oil company profits. In a free market economy, oil companies are free to charge whatever they want. And that is what they are doing.

What the oil companies are doing is reminiscent of what ENRON did in raising the price of electricity, causing millions of homeowners and businesses to pay more for the same amount of electricity. Was there an energy crisis? Yes and no. The market was manipulated and artificial shortages were created. An illusion of energy shortages was created.

The average consumer had little recourse but to pay higher electricity bills because they were locked into an electrical grid to meet their basic needs. Electricity is basically a monopoly because you can’t go out in most cases and shop for an electric company like you now can for a cell phone company. And any semblance of consumer protection is more a mirage than reality.

As Consortiumnews.org notes

Bush personally joined the fight against imposing caps on the soaring price of electricity in California at a time when Enron was artificially driving up the price of electricity by manipulating supply. Bush”s resistance to price caps bought Enron extra time to gouge hundreds of millions of dollars from California”s consumers.”

The same thing is happening now regarding gas prices with the Republicans in Congress and Bush. They are supporting the oil industry that has a virtual monopoly on energy. Our economy is run on oil and we are addicted to oil. A transportation system dependent on individual cars and trucks, rather than adequate public transit, dictates a continued use of a commodity controlled by a few companies.

Under Bush and the Republicans, there is no regulation of the oil industry because it is contrary to their free market economy beliefs and against their patrons who put them into office. They say there is no price gouging for gasoline because the oil companies are free to charge as much as they want, as long as consumers are willing to pay. So far consumers have continued to pay. Unfortunately there are no alternatives for most people..

Oil companies have found that Americans are pretty gullible. Bush’s never ending war on “terrorism” is right out of George Orwell’s 1984. Iraq and terrorism get blamed for contributing to higher gas prices.

But many Americans now see that our invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Bush has no plan to end or win the war. He hopes that the continuing war will make those who started it seem legitimate, as terrorist actions continue. Unfortunately the Iraq War has fostered increased recruitment and training for new terrorists. It has not made us any more energy independent or secure.

Would we be in Iraq if not for oil? Would we be in the Middle East if not for oil? Is the tradeoff worth it, oil for increasing terrorist motivation and training.

The bottom line is really about oil and profits, while Bush and Rove insist otherwise. America’s problem is that oilmen in the White House and Congress, who are running our country, have no incentive to find real alternatives to oil, especially when they can rack up record profits. The Iraq War has become an unfortunate consequence of oilmen seeking to keep reaping outrageous profit from an economy dependent on oil.

Bush and his oilmen have no incentive to increase the mileage requirements for cars and trucks. They have no incentives to start a serious switch to energy independence and end our addiction to oil. They have made us the hostages in the process. Why should they care as long as we pay the higher prices?

Unfortunately these same oil companies , in racking up record profits, are taking the nickels and dimes and quarters of America’s low income and minimum wage workers to fuel their profits and growth. They are producing hardship for middle income families in paying bills and providing for heath care and education for their children. And the Iraq War is draining our society of money for basic human needs. The price we are actually paying for a free market economy dependent on oil is horrendous.

And what are the oil companies now doing? They are buying up alternative energy companies and building their own subsidiaries so they can continue their monopoly of America’s energy resources – to continue to reap as many profits as they can from selling energy to America’s citizens.

What American consumer’s need to think about is why they would think that the oil companies who seem to have no problem taking obscene profits now, and not worrying about hurting the lives of average citizens, are going to be any different with any other energy sources they might own in the future.

Americans really need to wake up and rally around ending our addiction to oil and working not just for energy independence from foreign sources , but also energy independence from price gouging energy conglomerates. Americans need to demand much more fuel efficient cars, more decentralized small sources of energy from wind and solar, and increased energy efficiency. These actions will increase America’s security and independence.

This isn’t going to happen as long as oilmen run the White House and Republicans control the House and the Senate. Our only hope is to boot the oil loving Republicans out of office and put Democrats in control. And then we will have to make sure they do the right thing for America.

Exxon Gets Bush’s Blessing

Terrance Hunt writing for the AP says in today’s PI says that

President Bush defended the huge profits of Exxon Mobil Corp. Wednesday, saying that they are simply the result of the marketplace and that consumers socked with soaring energy costs should not expect price breaks.”

Bush, a former Texas oilman, said of oil costs, “I think that basically the price is determined by the marketplace, and that’s the way it should be.”

On Tues, in our blog “Where Your Spare Change Went” we questioned the excess profits of Exxon Mobil and other oil companies being made at the expense of the American public. How is the price determined by the marketplace; I don’t set prices? What am I supposed to do when my heating oil bill comes; refuse to pay? Give me a break. ¬†How about imposing an excess profits tax on oil companies, like proposed by some in Congress and use it to fund programs for conservation and alternative fuels?

Government has a duty to protect the little guy, not just the big corporations soaking the American public for all they can. Except not the Republicans, who see their duty to help the corporations and wealthy with more tax breaks. Wealth continues to concentrate in the hands of a few in America.

Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few in America. In 2001 according to figures from the Federal Reserve Board, the top 10% of households in America own 71% of the wealth. The bottom 40% own less than 1%. Between 1983 and 2000, the top 20% increased their wealth distribution from 81.3% to 84.4%. The bottom 40% went from .9% to .3%. And Bush wants more tax breaks for the wealthy.

A June 2004 Merrill- Lynch report noted that the concentration of wealth at the top resumed upward spiral in 2003. It attributed it to a “…a rising stock market in 2003, and the decision of the wealthy early on in the year to significantly increase their stock holdings. On average, high net worth individuals (HNWIs, as the report labels them) increased their investments in stocks to 35 percent of their holdings in 2003 from 20 percent in 2002.”

The American Way is the “free enterprise way” which is the George Bush Way which is the Republican Corporate Mantra. Get used to it. If you don’t like it you need to get the Republicans and George Bush types out of office. They’re working for themselves – the ruling elite – that already have the wealth and they intend to keep it and accumulate as much more as they can. When they say they are for lower taxes they just aren’t telling you the whole truth – they are for lower taxes for themselves and if you’re foolish enough to still believe that they are out to help the majority of American citizens then they have you brainwashed. Just open your eyes and look around.

Aren’t you the one who is going to pay more to go to the doctor, pay more for your medicine and more to send your kids to college? The Republican Congress just cut money for these programs It’s been their plan all along. Cut taxes for the rich and cut programs for the poor and middle class. It’s the Ruling Class’s Way.