Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stop Harrassing Big Oil, Bill

I'm tired of hearing Bill O'Reilly accuse the oil companies of screwing Americans. While I generally like the Factor, I don't watch it as much as I used to, because most of his guests are idiots. But I did catch a recent report where he called on the oil companies to contribute 2 percent of their profits into a general fund to help the poor heat and/or cool their homes.

Karl Rove was his guest to analyze. First of all, Rove is correct in saying that government should not impose penalties. And he also stated that oil companies generally only make 8 cents on the dollar in net profit. Also fairly accurate. Rove finally agree that oil companies contributing to charity isn't a bad idea -- just don't make it mandatory. Rove wins the debate with Bill, at least by my account.

Over the last 10 years, ExxonMobil has averaged 9.7 percent. Still low compared to other industries, but higher than some. The 8 cents on the dollar may be true for all oil companies -- I didn't do the math on that yet. But I like to be precise. When we're talking billions of dollars, a few percentage points is a lot of money.

However, the Christian Science Monitor reported today:

In the first quarter of 2008, Big Oil had a profit margin of 7.4 percent. Over that same period, the pharmaceutical and medicine industry earned a 25.9 percent profit, the chemical industry earned 15.7 percent and the electronic equipment industry earned 12.1 percent.

Bill keeps bringing up the fact that Exxon made 80 billion dollars (or is that the top five; it's hard to keep it straight). He fails to mention the dividends returned to shareholders ($43 billion for the top five), and the taxes these companies already pay.

Should the oil companies contribute 2 percent of the net profits to the poor for heating and cooling? I don't want government to impose that, but donating money to the poor is always a good idea, and could be good P.R.

Bill, why don't you set up a non-profit? Put your money where your mouth is. I'll contribute. Let everyone, including getting the oil companies to make tax-deductible contributions.

Better yet. I think I'll do it myself. And Bill, you better contribute, with money and publicity. Then maybe you can quit trashing Big Oil.

1 comment:

Mike's America said...

Yeah, I saw that report too and just changed the channel. O'Reilly has also gone after oil speculators too. I wonder with the price per barrel dropping if that effort to punish speculators will be as urgent.

Drilling for new supplies as we develop alternatives for the future remains the only sound energy policy.

Too bad it gets lost in all the noise.