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Jim Hightower: House Republicans Choose Big Oil Over Granny

In dealing with the deficit, the GOP protects corporate billionaires at the expense of health care

By Jim Hightower |

Now, let’s check today’s sports scores: 4, 10.7 and 21.5.

Those tallies are from the oil league, and the winner, of course, is the league’s powerhouse, ExxonMobil.

Four, as you might have guessed, is the $4 that Exxon is siphoning out of your wallet these days for 1 gallon of its petrol.

Next comes 10.7. That’s the $10.7 billion in profits that this oil giant has soaked up in just the first three months of this year — a new record, not achieved by any managerial genius, increased productivity or improvement in customer service, but solely by the jack-up in gasoline prices.

Finally, 21.5. This is the big score made by Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s CEO. The chief pulled down $21.5 million in personal compensation last year, making him the highest paid executive in the oil league and one of the most richly paid CEOs in the entire country.

Wait ... this late-breaking score is just in: 0. That’s from the special tax game that ExxonMobil consistently wins in Washington. Last year, ExMo powered through loopholes created by its slick lobbying team to pay an income tax of zero on the $19 billion it had racked up in profits the year before. But, wait again, here’s a surprising update on that score: Exxon’s taxes were actually less than zero! How’s that possible? Because Big Oil’s lobbyists have so skewed the tax system that Exxon was able to extract a $156 million rebate from us taxpayers last year.

So Exxon is soaking us at the gas pump and sacking our public treasury to gain record profits for itself, while bestowing a royal fortune on its CEO. It wins, we lose.

With a record like that, you wouldn’t think the oil league would need more handouts from government — but then, you’re not a Republican congressperson.

The GOP recently pushed its appropriations priorities through the U.S. House, touting the bill as a revolutionary, politically responsible, tax-saving piece of legislative art.

Well, art is in the eye of the beholder. The Republicans “saved” money by essentially killing Medicare and drastically slashing Medicaid, Head Start, the Environmental Protection Agency, food stamps, and dozens of other popular and effective programs that Americans overwhelmingly support. Having taken their blunt budget ax to these programs that support our nation’s notion of the common good, GOP leaders then scampered to save one of the least popular and least effective federal programs on the books: the annual taxpayer subsidy for Big Oil.

As gasoline prices were rising toward $4 a gallon and higher, House Republicans voted unanimously to let the oil giants continue siphoning $4 billion a year out of our public treasury. All 241 of the Republican/Tea Party House members — with not even one dissenter in the bunch — declared that in this time of a supposed budget “crisis,” the neediest among us are not the elderly and the poor, but the little waifs of Big Oil.

As Casey Stengel once asked of the bumbling New York Mets team he was managing, “Can’t anyone here play this game?”

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil just announced a 69 percent leap in profits this year, while Chevron, ConocoPhillips and others are enjoying similar jumps in theirs. Guess what percentage of those enormous profits the corporations are likely to pay in taxes?

Zilch. Last year, ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhilips each banked multibillion-dollar profits, yet far from paying even a dime in taxes, all three worked the loopholes to get multimillion-dollar refunds from us.

Republican lawmakers had a clear choice in dealing with the deficit. So why did they choose to cut off your granny’s health care, while helping these corporate billionaires make off like bandits? I guess it’s a matter of who you really love.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him.




comments powered by Disqus

» on 05.05.11 @ 12:58 AM

Do you want to see the real Hightower?  If you do take a look at what this piece of human excrement is really all about….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3ctO7fdrcc

This video was taken at the his protest in Palm Springs, CA. Certainly uplifting.  Especially when they are calling for the torture and death of Clarence Thomas.  You’ll also hear them calling for revolution and another saying Thomas (who’s oh my god dare I say it….black) should be sent “back to the fields”.  Did you hear that boys?  Now do you know why I carry in CA and conceal carry in Arizona.

Oh and Hightower?  If you want me to show you where I can shove that hat, look me up.  I can easily be found, just reach out brother.

» on 05.05.11 @ 04:01 PM

Get serious Jim!  Are we supposed to believe that on the rolls of investors in public companies there are no Democrats or progressive activitists like yourself?  How many pension funds, or private mutual fund holders are also beneficiaries of corporate profits?  Shall we start by saying tens of millions of hardworking Americans who work for private business unions, public agency unions and other investors?

The idea that big corporations are the enemy is not only class warfare at its finest moment, it a fallacy and a bold-faced lie being perpetrated by progressives trying to destabilize capitalist enterprise and take the money for themselves.  They just mask their intent behind ideological gibberish to confuse the uneducated masses.  Fortunately for us, there are many who see through your shenanigans.

» on 05.05.11 @ 05:23 PM

Sounds outrageous. Can this be true?

If so, it would be great to have one of Texas’ Party of NO apologists, or some
brave local like Jeff Harding or Lanny Ebenstein, reply, and explain why this is
in the national interest?

» on 05.05.11 @ 07:05 PM

It is hilarious that you progressives have so many codewords and code sayins.  Just who and what is the Texas Party of No?  Seriously. I’m interested.

» on 05.09.11 @ 12:29 PM

Possibly a reference to Bush and Republicans?

» on 05.09.11 @ 09:10 PM

Oil production and distribution adds real wealth to our economy. Unfortunately we don’t produce enough to replace what we consume, so we are at the mercy of net exporters.
We can change that by increasing domestic production, changing trades laws and realizing the difference between supporting wealth generators (which all you liberal progressives in Europe coddle to the point of being unfairly competitive while we punish our wealth generators), and supporting wealth skimmers like banking, law, brokerages, real estate, most services and a like.
As far as this scab in Texas goes, Jimmy is the epitome of hypocrisy.

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