Friday, April 28, 2006

Price Gouging By Big Oil

Price Gouging By Big Oil

“Americans are feeling the pain of higher oil and natural gas prices. According
to a CBS News poll, 86 percent of people have been affected by higher gasoline prices
‘some’ or ‘a lot.’ Polling shows that nearly 70 percent believe that higher gasoline
prices will cause financial hardship for them or their family. The high price of natural
gas will further squeeze family budgets. Yet while ordinary Americans suffer under the
weight of high energy prices, the world’s largest energy conglomerates are enjoying
record-breaking profits. According to The Washington Post, the 2004 profits for Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips broke records across all industries. In 2004, at over $25 billion,
Exxon-Mobil booked the highest profit of any company in any year and broke its own record in 2005 with a $36 billion profit. Yet, oil company memos show that they made part of these profits by constraining refining capacity to drive up prices. These record profits have more than doubled CEO salaries, with Exxon CEO Lee Raymond receiving an astounding $144,573 per day on average for the last 13 years. So, while consumers are paying more at the pumps and on their heating bills, oil companies are getting billions in tax breaks and sweetheart deals from the Bush administration and their congressional allies.” Pain at The Pump Profits In The Boardroom , Center For American Progress Action Fund

The price shock we are seeing at the gas pump these days is a direct result of policies initiated by the Bu$h-Cheney cabal and the blowback from these policies. What we are seeing at the gas pump is a replay of what the Bu$h-Cheney ally Enron’s Ken Lay and his executives did with electric energy in California and several Western states several years ago prior to the collapse of the company. While most of us suspect the rise of gasoline, heating oil and natural gas prices is part and parcel to the Cheney energy task force’s polices, policies the Bu$h-Cheney cabal fought desperately to keep secret and which even today are impacting their domestic, military and foreign policies. Since 2002 prices at the pump have jumped considerably. A report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund which calls itself a nonpartisan research and
educational institute dedicated to finding progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and advance policies that help create sustained economic growth and new opportunities for all Americans says, “Since January 2002, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline increased as much as $2, a 174 percent climb, and the average residential cost of a thousand cubic foot of natural gas is up about $5, a 60 percent increase. Despite these burdens on consumers, the administration and Congress have done little to increase conservation or energy efficiency, or take bold steps toward alternative sources of energy. Instead, conservatives have demonstrated their commitment to supply-only solutions, like drilling in protected areas off our coasts and in Alaska, undercutting our economic, environmental and national security interests in favor of oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits.” The name of the game as they play it is direct bribery (euphemistically called “lobbying” and special interest groups) of public officials so the “elected officials” do what the energy and oil companies pay them to do. “Overall, Enron gave $2.3 million to federal candidates and the political parties during the 2000 election, more than double its $1.1 million in 1998 and more than any other energy company, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group that studies campaign finance. Almost three-fourths of the company's donations went to Republicans. Right behind Enron in campaign contributions from energy companies was Southern Co., whose Southern Energy subsidiary, recently renamed Mirant, is an electricity supplier in California. Atlanta-based Southern Co. gave $1.3 million in 2000, including $14,000 directly to Bush.” http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/enrn25.
So the cause and effect relationship of escalating gas prices on one level, is the result of the ruling elites, their elected puppets and sycophants operating in collusion and partnership with the major conglomerates and multi-national corporations so a corporatist oligarchy is setting policies. Part of the cause of high prices are the political unrest in Nigeria, Columbia, Iraq, Iran and the percolating intrigue the US is fomenting in Central Asia. Much of this is a reaction to US intervention and covert policies. So when Bu$h and Congress jump up to create the illusion they are concerned about rising gas prices and making us think they are attempting to reduce them, they are merely posturing. The fact is most of the causes of the out of control gas prices are the direct result of what Bu$h and Co and their cronies in big oil have done. “Despite damage to rigs and refineries during the devastating 2005 season, oil companies reported record annual profits on the back and gasoline prices in 2005. The growth in energy prices has been very kind to Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded energy company. In 2005, Exxon-Mobil has announced record quarterly profits, including $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter. With nearly $100 billion in revenue in both the third and fourth quarters, it also posted the most revenue of any U.S. corporation in any single quarter. Its 2004 net income of $25.33 billion was the highest annual profit of any U.S. corporation in history, and they broke their own record in 2005 with an annual profit of $36.1 billion. Since 2002, the year that sharp increases
in gasoline prices began, Exxon-Mobil profits have increased by 215 per cent... Over the past six years, oil and gas companies have spent nearly $450 million on politicians, political parties and lobbyists in order to protect their interests in Washington. Since 1990, energy companies have made $183 million in political contributions alone, 75 percent of which have gone to Republicans In addition, over the past six years, nine of the top ten recipients of contributions
have been Republicans. In just the last election cycle, the oil and gas industry contributed more than $20 million to Republicans, four times more than the amount donated to Democrats.” Pain at The Pump Profits In The Boardroom , Center For American Progress Action Fund
Both political parties have their hands out taking contributions from lobbyists, they have learned to be money grubbers par excellence at the expense and to the detriment of us the taxpayers. “For their lavish political contributions, energy companies have been nicely
rewarded in the energy bill that a Republican-controlled Congress guided into law this past August. Even as oil and gas companies enjoy record profits, hard working American
taxpayers will be footing the bill for over $4 billion in industry giveaways including
nearly $2 billion in tax breaks and a $1.5 billion fund for an consortium based in Rep. Tom DeLay’s district that was slipped into the 2005 energy bill without a vote. Harder to quantify but perhaps more egregious, the Republicans energy law also waives the requirement for oil companies to pay royalties and gas from federal areas in some instances. Essentially the record profits from high prices borne by American consumers without recouping any funds for the nation. The Government Accountability Office has estimated that incentives to drill in the Gulf of Mexico will cost the American Government $20 billion over the next 25 years.” Pain at The Pump Profits In The Boardroom , Center For American Progress Action Fund. So you can see we are suffering because our corrupt elected officials sold us out and acquiesced to the bribes of the big oil companies and their representatives. It is part and parcel to the ongoing class warfare in this country. Isn’t it about time we started holding these sell outs accountable and we begin treating them as the traitors they are?

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