Last week ExxonMobil reported the largest quarterly profit in the history of American capitalism: a stunning $11,680,000,000. Trailing behind Exxon were Shell--$11,560,000,000; BP--$9,470,000,000; Chevron--$5,980,000,000, and CononoPhillips with a paltry $5,400,000,000. This bounty far outstripped last year's already record haul and puts Big Oil on track to pull down about $160,000,000,000 in profits this year.
(Though ExxonMobil edged its own previous record, it failed to meet analysts' expectations and its shares dipped. It was, however, very quick to point out that its profits would've been more like $12 billion had it not had to take a charge to pay that $500 million to those pesky victims of the ExxonValdez disaster.)
But it costs so much to explore for oil these days you say! Turns out spending on exploration has remained flat since the early '90s--a mid-single digit percentage of profits.
But the oil companies are running ads saying that they're moving 'beyond petroleum,' which means it must be so you say! Turns out that ExxonMobil spent a mere a 1 percent of its record profits on alternative energy, while self-proclaimed alternative energy star BP spent the most of any company--a still underwhelming 2.9 percent of its profits. Even Good Morning America, not exactly America's hardest hitting news source picked up on this one:
Turns out that Big Oil is reinvesting much of its cash (some 55 percent today, up from just 1 percent in 1993) in buying back its own stock and paying dividends to further enrich its shareholders. (That would include executives who hold or have options on millions of shares and who generally receive millions in bonuses based on stock performance.)
So, after hitting a real gusher of campaign cash from Big Oil, what does John McCain propose to do about high gas prices and obscene oil company profits? Why, he wants to give Big Oil a Texas-sized tax cut to the tune of some $4,000,000,000 a year.
Check out the TV ad Sierra Club launched last week in key battleground states:
And Barack Obama? He wants to give Americans $1,000 "emergency rebate" (paid for by taxing Big Oil's windfall profits) to get us through today's crisis and end the billions in existing government giveaways to Big Oil that John McCain has refused to cut off. Oh yeah, and he'll invest $150 billion in clean, renewable energy to end Big Oil's chokehold on America once and for all.
So, do we want a president who thinks a company making more than $1,000 a second in profits needs tax relief, or do we want a president who wants to give $1,000 to hardworking Americans to relieve their pain at the pump?
Seems like America literally cannot afford more of the McSame old thing on energy.