So. What would you do with $7,000,000,000?
I'm guessing not this:
The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.
New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.
Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.
But I mean, come on, yo. Them oil companies have fallen on hard times and…uh…
Wait a second.
Exxon Mobil Corp. set U.S. records for annual and quarterly profits Monday as it easily topped fourth-quarter earnings forecasts.
The nation's largest oil company reported net income in the fourth quarter of $10.7 billion, or $1.71 a share, compared to $8.4 billion, or $1.30 a share, a year earlier [...]
For the year the company earned net income of $36.1 billion, or $33.9 billion excluding special items. That's up 31 percent from the $25.9 billion it earned on that basis year earlier.
Yup. I can think of a powerful lotta things I could do with seven billion dollars. And yet not one of my Top Thousand would be to give it away to the oil companies. Seems to me they're doing just fine. Better than they ever have in fact. Less in need of
my our money than ever.
Oh, but those kids who've had their school lunches cut? Yeah, boy, seven billions dollars'll buy a peck of lunches for hungry kids. But, hey, screw 'em. If they were worth anything, they'd have lobbyists working for 'em and giving money to politicians.
Oh, that's right. They don't have those things because they're poor.
And because they're poor, they can't afford those things.
Interesting how that works out, ain't it?
And the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Except one thing's especially interesting about this particular rip-off:
That's our money.
All of ours.
Yours and mine.
The rich and the poor.
It belongs to the American people.
If oil companies want to make billions in profits off our land, often permanently despoiling that land in the process, I just don't think it's too damn much to ask that they pay us our fair share.
No. I really don't think that's too much.
Seven. Billion. Dollars.