In breathtaking example of the manner in which oil has corrupted the Bush administration we have prima facie evidence of the perverted priorities of the last eight years. This is an administration that has left our economy at greater risk than at any time during the great depression, a nation whose sons and daughters are dying and wounded in a futile war in Iraq, a nation where millions of families are being evicted from their homes, a nation whose workers and savers are seeing their 401Ks and retirement accounts being eviscerated by crippling selloffs in the nation's largely free-form, soporifically regulated stock markets, by hands off oversight commissions encouraged to do nothing by an administration that probably has trouble spelling the word "economics." Not to speak of the loss of respect and moral suasion for America and its traditions, trashed in the perception of others by this administration's comportment, lack of vision, and inability to communicate.
Into this miasma of the nation's misery comes one shining light: ExxonMobil, with quarterly profits of $14.83 Billion, the greatest by far in history. And here the administration has acted triumphantly, capping nearly a quarter of a century of unrelenting effort to achieve a cascade of riches for the oil producers in dimensions undreamed of at the outset of this sordid enterprise.
You see, it all started in 1986 when George H.W. Bush, then Vice President, and on his own volition (in this I know I'm right) flew off to Saudi Arabia to convince King Fahd and his entourage to revitalize OPEC in order to raise the price of oil. Oil prices were low and the economy of Texas was hurting. So to help Texas the whole world was going to pay more for oil. And the Saudis, until then not knowing what the world's reaction would be if they started to constrain supply, happily jumped on board knowing they had the implied support of the U.S. Government cheering them along.
George W. Bush clearly understood from the get go, in the footsteps of his father, that his administration together with Halliburton-Cheney would do all it could to support ever higher oil prices and profits. And so it came to pass.
-Immediately after the invasion of Iraq all was done by the administration to push
Iraq back into the arms of OPEC.
-The Saudi's were coddled in their policy to constrain OPEC oil production.
-The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was managed more to support oil prices than for national security reasons (please see "Oil Prices Sliding? Hurry Moscow, Call our Strategic Petroleum Reserve Maven Energy Secretary Bodman," 10.30.08).
-Oil trading on commodity markets were virtually unregulated until Congress aggressively intervened earlier this year.
-Years were to pass before a limp automobile mpg guideline would be mandated.
- Amtrak funding was cut until this year, while Europe, China, Japan were building infrastructure for high speed trains.
-Brazilian ethanol was made subject to a 54 cent per gallon import duty .
-alternative energy programs were given more lip serve than real support (some $20 billion over the course of the administration while Wall Street was getting hundreds of billions in the last weeks alone).
-A Department of Energy almost completely wedded to the interests of the oil industry rather than the national well being.
-A Department of the Interior filled with oil industry alumni plagued with scandalous revelations of oil industry favoritism. .
-One could go on.
It is an achievement of misgovernance that will defy American historians to come up with its equal. But it was all great for the oil-patch and its cronies. And one can imagine there is Papa Bush cheering all the way with a ringing "well done," not to speak of the champagne corks popping down in Irving Texas, headquaters for ExxonMobil.