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Letters to the Editor

Oil profits

March 19, 2008

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To the editor:

A sincere thank you to all the Republicans across our great nation who voted the big oilmen into the highest offices in the land. The big oil companies are enjoying historical record profits. Duh! Meanwhile, our nation cannot afford health insurance for our kids in poverty. It must be hard living in those multimillion-dollar homes and vacation homes while we cannot afford to help our senior citizens who are in poverty to live in dignity.

Did anyone see the show on TV about the G.I. who came back to Kansas City from Iraq with one leg? Did everyone see the rathole of a house he came home to raise his four children in? I'm sure everyone saw all the big oil billionaires who were there waiting to help him after losing his leg to get their precious oil. He was one of the lucky ones. Someone stepped up to help him out. Of course, they really didn't need to help him because our government and the big oil people were already going to do that anyway, right?

The economists say the high price of oil is because there is "instability in the region." I don't suppose starting a war in the middle of the region has had anything to do with that! So press on, Republicans; you're doing the right thing. Give yourselves a big pat on the back the next time you fill up your gas tank. I'm sure there's an oilman billionaire out there that needs yet another million-dollar vacation home.

Dennis Jones,
Eudora

Comments

KS 6 years, 9 months ago

You're welcome! Surely this oil thing could have ONLY happened if GWB was elected. The dems have a turn coming. Let's see what they do with it. That is if they can get past the sex and race scandals. Let the first stone be cast.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 6 years, 9 months ago

What happened to all that oil that the US was supposed to be stealing? You know, the "no blood for oil" thing. When will that happen?

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

Personally I am sick and tired of US consumers paying far below world prices for gasoline, and then imagining some grand conspiracy and blaming both foreign and domestic oil companies. If we all paid world market prices we would be forced to conserve. Sure it would hurt the poor and middle class harder than the rich, but if they can't afford gas then the government should forced them to go out and buy electric cars powered by windmills.

Here in dollars per gallon what the rest of the world pays.

Turkey $10.03/gal Norway (Oslo) $8.49/gal Netherlands $8.02/gal Finland $7.98/gal United Kingdom $7.72/gal Belgium (Brussels) $7.64/gal Germany $7.62/gal Denmark (Copenhagen) $7.44/gal Sweden $7.42/gal Italy $7.30/gal Hong Kong $7.06/gal Switzerland (Zurich) $6.24/gal Israel $6.10/gal Iceland $6.05/gal Singapore $5.19/gal Greece $4.93/gal Brazil (São Paulo) $4.66/gal India (Bangalore) $4.61/gal Australia (Sydney) $4.20/gal New Zealand $4.17/gal Canada $4.16/gal Japan $3.84/gal Philippines (Manila) $3.54/gal Russia (Moscow) $3.04/gal United States $3.01/gal Thailand $2.61/gal China $2.44/gal Mexico (Mexico City) $2.36/gal Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) $2.01/gal Egypt (Cairo) $0.93/gal Kuwait (Kuwait City) $0.78/gal Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) $0.45/gal[8] Nigeria (Lagos) $0.38/gal Iran $0.33/gal Turkmenistan $0.29/gal Venezuela (Caracas) $0.17/gal http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/en-international-fuelprices-part1-2007.pdf

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

Who are these grand conspirators who provide us below average gas prices? Where do those profits go? The populists including Bill O'Rielly (yes THAT Bill O'Reilly), would have you believe that they are owned by the executives who run them and by other fat cats. Glib to be sure, but patently false if you bother to look at the facts.

A recent study done by Robert J. Shapiro, undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs under President Bill Clinton (yes, THAT Bill Clinton), shows:

Almost 43 percent of oil and natural gas company shares are owned by mutual funds and asset management companies that have mutual funds. Mutual funds manage accounts for 55 million U.S. households with a median income of $68,700.

Twenty-seven percent of shares are owned by other institutional investors like pension funds. In 2004, more than 2,600 pension funds run by federal, state and local governments held almost $64 billion in shares of U.S. oil and natural gas companies. These funds represent the major retirement security for the nation's current and retired soldiers, teachers, and police and fire personnel at every level of government.

Fourteen percent of shares are held in IRA and other personal retirement accounts. Forty five million U.S. households have IRA and other personal retirement accounts, with an average account value of just over $22,000.

Those "Fat Cat" Big Oil Executives? Only 1.5 percent of oil and gas company stock is owned by corporate directors and officers. http://www.energytomorrow.org/media_center/Shapiro_Pham_Study.pdf

But as "Soak the Rich" politics never goes out of style, I expect we shall hear it more and more as we head towards November. Too bad "The Rich" most often ends up being the middle class and retirees.

craigers 6 years, 9 months ago

We can stop oil profits by not driving anywhere!! Wait, it is better to whine about the price being too high rather than changing our consumption habits!

imastinker 6 years, 9 months ago

I suppose the writer does not believe that pricing barrels by the euro and the weak dollar have nothing to do with this?

I suppose he believes that the record refinerery margins are also GWB's fault?

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 9 months ago

First, drill for oil in ANWR to help reduce the cost. Then build more refineries. Then reduce regulation disincentivizing exploration for oil and gas off our coasts. Then increase our nuclear production. Then let the free market determine if renewables are viable over the long term.

Jcjayhawk1 6 years, 9 months ago

Since when did making a profit become un-American?

LesterBurnham 6 years, 9 months ago

Dear Dennis Jones:

As a happy and healthy republican, I do appreciate your thankfulness! I've added a couple comments to elucidate your concerns.

The United States can pay for childrens' health insurance as soon as we shut-down social security and medicare. Adults don't need government aid, they can get a job and save money.

The military is an occupation, and has been since vietnam. Every enlistee can choose to be somewhere else.

OPEC sets the crude oil price. Middle east instability has no influence other than mild day to day fluctuations.

notajayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Mkh;

The electric car is not dead, but remains impractical.

http://www.teslamotors.com/

Great car. But with a range of 230 miles (maximum), a recharge time of 3.5 hours (minimum), and a pricetag of about $100K, it's not likely to replace the family sedan (let alone an SUV) any time soon.

Jcjayhawk1 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree with Lester (even though he is a Repub)

Jcjayhawk1 6 years, 9 months ago

Nuclear power is the environment friendly solution.

Virtually no carbon emissions. More than enough energy.

Some waste but less of an impact compared to the carbon emissions from current methods.

Radiation an issue? Continue the depletion of the ozone then it's radiation for everyone!

LesterBurnham 6 years, 9 months ago

It's a good time to be rich... Gas prices have made SUV's cheaper, interest rates are great on new car and home loans... jobs are abundant. Life is good!

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

Sigmund I think if you do a little more research that you will find that at least in Europe, and likely in some of the other places you list the actual cost per gallon of gas is about the same as the cost in the U.S.... The higher prices at the pumps are almost entirely due to taxes...

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

In Europe about 70% of the price of a gallon of gas at the pump is taxes... In the U.S. it's about 18% taxes...

pisafromthewest 6 years, 9 months ago

stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says:

"I think if you do a little more research that you will find that at least in Europe, and likely in some of the other places you list the actual cost per gallon of gas is about the same as the cost in the U.S."

And yet it's the Republicans' and GWB's fault that it's so high here?

Why don't you look up the figures on how much private car ownership has gone up in Europe recently, despite their oft-mentioned use of alternative travel methods? Oddly enough you might find out that the price of gasoline is dependent not on whose government is in office, but on demand and what people are willing to pay for it.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Cutting off the worlds third largest source of oil with military action based on lies had nothing to do with price fluctuation. Lots of countries such as Israel has real WMD's and we furnish countries with WMD's. Maybe the oil boys and girls were unhappy because Saddam was about to Euro just before the texas educated idiot went bonkers and attacked Iraq.

We need to cut back on oil usage by at least 60%. It would not matter if oil would never run short and was 5 cents a gallon the world needs to get off it for environmental reasons

Walk,Bike or Ride the T!
Move closer to employment!

For employment purposes riding the T has got to be best bang for the buck no question about it.... 5 days round trip is $10.00 The real cost of gasoline in the USA is $8-$11 per gallon. Americans like to pretend wars cost nothing and corporate welfare does not exist.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

pisafromthewest did I say anything about it being Republicans' or Bush's fault that gas prices are high? nope... I sure didn't... I just didn't want anyone getting the wrong idea from Sig's numbers... the idea that in the U.S. we get gas so much cheaper than people in Europe... because... we don't...

pisafromthewest 6 years, 9 months ago

stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says:

"I just didn't want anyone getting the wrong idea from Sig's numbers: the idea that in the U.S. we get gas so much cheaper than people in Europe:because: we don't:"

Uh ... yes... we ... do. It really doesn't make the slightest bit of difference whether the price at the pump is because of the cost of crude oil, transportation and manufacturing, oil company profits, or taxes, you ... still ... have ... to ... pay ... it.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

pisafromthewest it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference? hmmm... are you a socialist...? that's what 70% of the cost of European gas at the pump goes to... socialism...

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund I think if you do a little more research that you will find that at least in Europe, and likely in some of the other places you list the actual cost per gallon of gas is about the same as the cost in the U.S:. The higher prices at the pumps are almost entirely due to taxes:"

No additional research is needed. It is understood that all prices included taxes. Since that is what consumers pay in those countries and since that is what all the fuss is about those are the relevant numbers. Are you suggesting the US increase the gas tax to make it more expensive for US consumers?

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

any tax... any bit of socialism conflicts with and mutates the free market system: supply and demand should be left to best control the cost of gas... or any other commodity... for that matter...

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

Sigmund I suggest no such thing... I do suggest that with your numbers you are comparing apples and apples with a slice of cheese...

Jcjayhawk1 6 years, 9 months ago

"It's a good time to be rich: Gas prices have made SUV's cheaper, interest rates are great on new car...."- (Lester)

"lay off the weed, dude"-(Defender)

Defender you owe Lester an apology.

Jcjayhawk1 6 years, 9 months ago

Defender...what Lester said was true !

pisafromthewest 6 years, 9 months ago

stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says:

"it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference?"

No, it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference. A consumer pulling up to the pump in Germany can't say they'll pay for the gas but not the taxes. He still has to take about 5 euros (the equivalent of almost $8) out of his wallet for every gallon of gasoline he buys. And he is buying it. European private car ownership still lags behind that in America, but it is growing rapidly and closing in.

"any tax: any bit of socialism conflicts with and mutates the free market system:supply and demand should be left to best control the cost of gas:or any other commodity: for that matter:"

Taxes do not conflict with the free market, they are part of it. Supply and demand do set the price of gasoline, the final price, including the costs of the raw product, processing and distribution costs, profits, and taxes. This is why a consumer will travel a few extra miles to buy something in a neighboring state where taxes are lower.

Taxes are part of the supply and demand curves, and subject to the same forces as the rest of the factors. Raising taxes on gasoline to, say, $10/gallon, would result in a dramatic decrease in demand, which would result in the same pressures the oil companies face falling on the taxing authority, i.e. lower the taxes or there will be less tax revenue generated due to lowered sales of gasoline to tax

None of which matters. As I mentioned a couple of times, European car ownership is rising rapidly. With the end price, the actual cost out-of-pocket to the consumer, at more than twice what it is for an American consumer, Europeans are still buying the stuff like crazy. We aren't anywhere near the price levels that will lower consumption in this country, despite all the whining, and like any other product, the oil companies will continue to raise the prices as long as people keep buying more of it.


Mr_Values (Anonymous) says:

"The whiners here would be singing a completely different toon if they'd have invested in oil."

Sadly, as Sigmund pointed out above, whether they know it or not most of them probably are invested in oil.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

pisafromthewest so... you are a bit of a socialist... that's okay... most folks are...

pisafromthewest 6 years, 9 months ago

stuckinthemiddle so: you are a bit of an *ss: that's okay: most folks are:

I think your complete and utter lack of understanding of how supply and demand work calls into question your qualifications as a capitalist. Good luck next time you're in a gas station arguing that you shouldn't have to pay for the tax portion of your total because it interferes with the free market system.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

SUV's are cheaper because the writing is on the wall. Dealers want to get rid of them quick cuz gasoline is on the increase. Gas hogs ain't gonna be worth a plug nickle soon and the dealers will not want used SUV's on their used car lots. Their value is on the downhill run.... so I suspect.

notajayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:

"Gas hogs ain't gonna be worth a plug nickle soon"

Seems I remember hearing the exact same thing in the '70s.

labmonkey 6 years, 9 months ago

Again....are high prices so bad? They need to go to $5.00 per gallon or higher to change some of our habits.

On a side note....I went to the auto show in KC last week and GM was pimping their hybrid large SUV's. What a friggin' waste of technology. Make a car that looks good, that gets good mileage (how about a Monte Carlo hybrid...take a car that already gets over 30 mpg and make it over 40 mpg). That is all a car company has to do....because the Toyota Prius is butt ugly and it still sells.

pisafromthewest 6 years, 9 months ago

anxiousatheist (Anonymous) says:

"Guess who deregulated MPG's in the late 80's early 90's that caused the surge in SUV production, duh, it was oil man George Bush! What evidence do we need? Get out the Guillotine:"

Imagine that, a president who thinks people should be allowed to buy what they want to, instead of the government telling them they have to drive worthless little sh**boxes. You're right, let's string him up.

The rise in popularity of SUVs was do to the same thing that caused the popularity of any other product ... duh, it's what people wanted to buy. Get over it.

jonny_quest 6 years, 9 months ago

Sigmund, I sincerely find most of your posts to the LJW to be interesting and well thought. However, your position on the oil issue lacks content, context and accuracy. It contains many logical fallacies.

LesterBurnham, Based on your posts you are a blogging troll or you possess limited knowledge of history, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, geology, the US military and foreign affairs. You hint that you are affluent; it must of been inherited, through marriage or the result of personal injury litigation.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

jonny_quest (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund, I sincerely find most of your posts to the LJW to be interesting and well thought. However, your position on the oil issue lacks content, context and accuracy. It contains many logical fallacies."

I don't think I am, but maybe. It seems people are upset that the price of gas they pay at the pump is too high and so are oil companies profits. First, the price of gas 300 million Americans pay at pump is low when compared to what the 6.8 billion of the rest of the world pays. Some countries tax higher at the pump and less on profits, but all a countries taxes get reflected in the price at the pump. And while we are considering taxes, you pay nearly 50 cents of taxes on every gallon. That is far more than the oil company that drills, refines, and transport it to the pump makes per gallon. If the oil companies have had record profits, both they and consumers have paid record amounts in taxes to the government.

Second, both foreign (BP and Total) and American (Exxon and Chevron) oil companies sell gas to Americans at virtually the same price with exactly the same taxes at the pump in the US. Why then are only American oil companies and their share holders (middle class and retirees) being vilified?

Third, oil company profits are not obscene when compared to many other companies, I pick Apple as only one example because Al Gore is on the Board of Directors, but there are many others. Over the last 10 years Apple's owners have enjoyed a 1700% return while Exxon, a 250% return. If you are going to investigate every company I with record profits for fear they are ripping off consumers, please put Apple at the top of your list. http://finance.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=maximized&chdeh=0&chdet=1205619674000&chddm=999005&cmpto=nyse:xom&q=NASDAQ:AAPL (Just type XOM in the text box and click add to compare.)

stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund I suggest no such thing: I do suggest that with your numbers you are comparing apples and apples with a slice of cheese:"

Good, adding taxes to the price US citizens pay at the pump will hurt the poor and middle class far more than the "rich." Also note who owns American oil companies, overwhelmingly retirees and middle class. My numbers are fair, apple to apples comparison of what consumers worldwide pay at the pump. All taxes including income and sales taxes, get reflected in the price a company is willing to sell their product at.

Mkh 6 years, 9 months ago

The Government killed the electric car and literally any inventors who developed it long before W. Bush came into office.

myvotecounts 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget that oil is a Kansas industry, and the effects of higher oil prices on the rural communities here is visibly positive. It is showing in the property tax base (i.e. schools), and commercial growth particularly in rural areas. Big Oil doesn't have much of a presence in Kansas; most producers here are smaller independent companies--locally owned, who employ locals at all levels of their operations. As someone who has lived in rural Kansas to see the economy suffer (and every family with it) when oil prices are low, I choose the higher prices. And I drive a small car.

bisky1 6 years, 9 months ago

according to CNN we paid exxon so they could pay the government $100 billion in taxes and they only made $40 billion in profits, don't see many leftists gripin about that

camper 6 years, 9 months ago

Ethanol from sugar (not corn). This could solve some problems.

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