Folks in the U.S. are greatly upset over the outrageous prices they have to pay for gasoline and for good reason. The rapidly increasing costs of gasoline are causing a tremendous strain on people throughout the country. In my opinion, the failure of the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership in Congress should be a major campaign issue in congressional elections this fall. Currently, families have to decide how to cope with the high cost of gasoline at the pump while trying to still meet their other financial obligations. Many families literally have to cut back on their purchases of food in order to buy gasoline. Tragically, family debts are rising along with the increasingly high cost of gasoline. People need relief and so far they aren’t getting any help from most of the politicians in Washington.
While the consuming public suffers, the giant oil companies are unashamedly raking in record profits. It’s not surprising that the world’s largest company, ExxonMobil, is leading the pack. Thus far, the Texas-based company has smashed all profit records for the oil industry. ExxonMobil’s profit for the second quarter of 2006 of $10.7 billion – which is said to amount to $1,318 a second – is the second largest ever reported by a U.S. company. Total revenues for ExxonMobil for that period was just over $99 billion. Would you venture a guess as to which company holds the record? Based on projections the record held by ExxonMobil for profits in the last quarter of 2005 will likely be broken soon.
The attitude of our national political leaders over the plight American citizens find themselves in regarding gas prices reminds me of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning. Their failure to take action is appalling. Both the prices for gas at the pump and payments to corporate bosses in the oil industry are outrageous and can’t be justified. The golden parachute given to Lee Raymond on his retirement by ExxonMobil is a prime example of how that company operates and how little concern it has for how ordinary citizens are hurting. ExxonMobil justifiably caught considerable flack from the general public for its record fourth quarter profits, which came soon after gasoline prices hit record highs. But, when the company gave its outgoing CEO the retirement package worth about $400 million it really put things in the proper perspective. The public outcry calling for restrictions to CEO pay came about shortly thereafter. Also, calls from lawmakers, who wanted to institute a windfall profits tax on the oil industry or even break up some of the oil giants that merged in the 1990s, started to be heard. Unfortunately, all we have seen from Washington so far is talk.
It has become abundantly clear that the oil company lobbyists are so powerful in Washington that nothing of substance will be done to help consumers. Thus far nothing has happened to protect the public. Neither Congress nor the Bush White House has done anything to help consumers and that’s hard to justify. With the current vice-president in power, we can’t expect the Bush Administration to take on the oil companies. In my opinion, it will take voting some “rascals” out this fall in order for anything to be done in Congress. Hopefully, that will happen. If it doesn’t – expect to pay more than $4 a gallon for your gas next year – with no end in sight.
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