Not sure if you heard about this one yet, but a few days ago ExxonMobil reported record-shattering profits from last year. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing people on television talk about how the oil companies weren’t gouging the consumers when oil prices skyrocketed last year and the year before. In New Jersey alone we saw report after report of multiple price changes in a single day – which is against the law in this state. The article linked above states:
Exxon earned $45.2 billion in 2008, beating the record it set in 2007 for most profitable corporation, at $40.6 billion. That came despite a fourth quarter in which income fell 33 percent, owing to the steepest drop ever in oil prices, as the economy went into a tailspin.
After riding a tide of swelling earnings in recent years, the once high-flying oil sector is scrambling to adjust to a sharp downturn. Oil consumption is falling in all major developed nations as economies shrink and consumers cut back on spending.
As a result, oil prices have dropped more than 70 percent since peaking above $145 a barrel in July. On Friday, they traded at about $42 a barrel.
So think about that for a minute. Exxon’s profits fell in the fourth quarter last year and they still managed to record a ridiculous $4.5 billion increase over the previous year’s profits. Ha! I bet all of those people who are out of work that had a job last year could report that while they are unemployed, they’re still bringing in a good amount of money. Wouldn’t that be nice?!
I’ve never really thought that a windfall profits tax was a great idea, but when a company that sells a product which is vital to the continuity of the world economy is making money hand over fist, you have to wonder if there isn’t something that should be done to maintain the integrity of the prices that the consumers are being charged. I don’t know – it’s a tricky situation. However, I’m just about done listening to these guys report crazy amounts of profits for the previous year each January and then talk about how they’re making half a penny per gallon of gasoline each June. Come on folks, we can’t be that gullible, can we?