Monday, January 30, 2006

Doing Dick Cheney Proud

Exxon Sees Record Profits for Any U.S. Company


Exxon Mobil Corp. posted record profits for any U.S. company on Monday — $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year — as the world's biggest publicly traded oil company benefited from high oil and gas prices and demand for refined products. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations and Exxon shares rose nearly 3 percent in morning trading.

The company's earnings amounted to $1.71 per share for the October-December quarter, up 27 percent from $8.42 billion, or $1.30 per share, in the year ago quarter. The result topped the then-record quarterly profit of $9.92 billion Exxon posted in the third quarter of 2005.

Exxon's profit for the year was also the largest annual reported net income in U.S. history, according to Howard Silverblatt, a stock market analyst for Standard & Poor's. He said the previous high was Exxon's $25.3 billion profit in 2004.

Exxon's results lifted the combined 2005 profits for the country's three largest integrated oil companies to more than $63 billion.

Full story here.

As a businessperson, a small investor and a libertarian, I tend to view corporate profits as a good thing. I mean, hey, we’re all in business to make money.

But when a company’s profits come as a result of a confluence of natural and man-made events - hurricanes, artificially inflated prices, price-gouging, access to government officials through secret meetings, etc. – and the rest of the country suffers, I view that as the worst kind of malevolent greed. An insatiable gluttony of wretched excess; an offense with prejudice and special circumstance. So typical of companies like Enron, Halliburton and others who lurk and work in the shadows, and create policies that enrich themselves at the public's expense.

Question for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republican Congressional Leadership: Why the hell does an industry with the highest profits in American corporate history need tax breaks to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when many Americans can’t afford to heat their homes with the products these companies make??



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