The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “Exxon Mobil Corp. reported its second-highest quarterly profit ever, a result likely to intensify political anger at the oil industry at a time when many U.S. consumers are paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline.”
As EOW has previously reported, based on required House personal financial disclosure statements, John Carter owns between 28,621 and 43,604 shares of XOM. The news of Exxon’s staggering profits sent shares of the Irving, Texas, corporation $0.53 higher. That results in a one-day increase in value of between $15,169 and $23,110.
During the 12 months ending June 30, Exxon has earned a net of $39.4 billion. The company is keeping most of that, $36.7 biilion, in the bank as cash on hand. While it is admirable for a corporation to efficiently serve its market, compete fairly and innovate in order to turn a profit, Exxon enjoys tax breaks, freedom from regulatory burden and most likely engages in anti-competitive behavior. The WSJ, true to form, blames critics who only want to punish Exxon for its success:
Exxon stands as the tallest lightning rod for critics who say the oil industry is profiting at consumers’ expense, and parting payments to its former chairman and chief executive, Lee Raymond, have provoked criticism. Exxon officials said they don’t expect the political anger toward the industry to let up soon. Citing coming midterm congressional elections, Kenneth Cohen, Exxon’s vice president for public affairs, said: “It seems as if in some of the tight races some of the candidates are trying to run against us instead of their opponent.”
To protect its tax loopholes, avoid anti-trust and environmental regulators in the years ahead, Exxon needs to spread some of that cash to the campaign funds of its political allies in Washington. Take John Carter, for example. He has already received $1,000 from Exxon’s corporate PAC this campaign cycle, and more is expected in the coming months, as he faces a brisk challenge from Democrat Mary Beth Harrell. According to MoveOn.org:
Since 1990, Big Oil has given more than $190 million to members of Congress and 75% ($142,635,314!) of those donations have gone to Republicans. Those donations guarantee an energy policy that serves the oil industry’s interests over the public interest.
Our dependence on oil and the corporations that bring it to us is why the United States fights in the Middle East. It is why global climate change threatens our very way of life. And it threatens to make those who don’t own Exxon stock into peasants, beholden to the oil lords who hold title to our property and dreams.
Yes, this is a post about how rotten it is that John Carter votes for his own financial interest ahead of the interests of his constituents. To break free of this servitude, however, we must do more than eject all the oily sycophants in Congress. We must face up to our addiction to oil and take immediate, drastic steps to reduce our consumption. How many miles do you drive each month? How fuel efficient are the vehicles you drive? What steps do you take to conserve?