While some would shout "look over there" to distract attention away from the scurrilous money orgy and to defend the indefensible, others underscore the greed and dishonesty that drive the oil industry lust for more profits on top of the profits on top of the profits already super-saturating their bank accounts. For instance, contrary to the myth that governments are driving oil prices up by collecting large royalties, Big Oil is actually pumping oil out of the publicly-owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico without paying any royalties at all to the government. As Jim Hightower puts it,
This is the largest giveaway of the public's oil and gas in American history, at a time when gasoline is at record-high prices and oil companies need trains to take their ill-gotten profits to the bank. In 1996, crude oil prices were down at $10 a barrel, and the corporations ran to Washington crying that they needed "royalty relief" as an incentive to drill the deep wells in the federal waters of the gulf. Clinton and Congress complied, eventually waiving all royalties owed to We the People for Gulf drilling leases awarded in '98 and '99. At today's prices, with oil soaring to $70 a barrel, the companies expect to extract $65 billion worth of oil and gas from those leases in the next five years, giving them a fabulous profit. Yet, despite the jack-up in oil prices and the windfall profits, they still claim that they deserve full "royalty relief," costing our treasury $7 billion.So, the next time you're standing at the pump watching yourself throwing your good and hard-earned money down the bottomless pit of the highest retirement packages in history, remember the picture of Lee Raymond, for it is symbolic of all those fat oil cats who make your life more difficult in order to give themselves more ease.
HT: Bill Maher's 4/21/06 "New Rules," which referred to Lee "Fat Bastard" Raymond. The resemblance is remarkable.