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Gas Prices at $5/gallon : “Problem is we the consumers are at the mercy of both the elected thugs in congress and the corporate oil thugs.”

May 12, 2011
A chart of the major "big oil" companies

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Senate meetings showed a snap back at oil executives regarding oil prices, which is a bit like talking smack without backing anything up. The oil companies have never done us any favors, and one senator voiced that concern:

Thursday’s marquee hearing featured the CEOs of Shell Oil Co., ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP America and Chevron Corp., which together booked profits totaling $36 billion during the first quarter. The Democrats say that with profits that high, the big oil companies wouldn’t miss tax breaks that average $2 billion a year.

“My guess is you will be able to protect yourselves. …You’re used to prevailing,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Oil companies, he added, are “deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing.”

While pundits are quick to point out that there will be more to pay at the pump, it would be foolish for politicians to ignore the fact that this is an issue that will drive the 2012 elections.  For people who have some income to spare, the majority of wealthy Americans, the gas price increases are annoyance and may cut down on the number of times the family heads to the beach, but for most American families, gas prices mean less income to spend on groceries, which have risen in price during this recession.  And even if no one at the federal level wants to call inflation an inflation, prices on all commodities have gone up and hiring is down.

It literally pays for politicians to take on big oil.  Big oil is the corporate face that everyone loves to throw darts at–we love to hate them.  Big oil pollutes the environment, gets tax breaks that small businesses get shut out of, and then charges increasingly higher prices with no real benefit for the public.  And, that’s the real kicker, no real benefit for the public.  This isn’t a case of raising taxes to fund a school building, passing a millage to fix up the local library.

The legislation backing big oil tax breaks is along the same lines as legislation designed to stop the injured from filing medical malpractice claims–based on lies about how much money can somehow be “saved.”  Real statistics show that medical malpractice claims really don’t impact the costs of medical care, no matter how many doctors write op ed pieces about the unfairness of being held accountable for their work, and legislation supporting tax breaks for big oil companies has no real fact to support a raise in pump prices for cutting off those tax breaks, but in both cases, big businesses buy a lot of press and plenty of lawmaker’s elections:

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that eliminating the tax breaks would be unlikely to result in higher gasoline prices, which are influenced by a host of factors. The report, released Wednesday, said eliminating the tax breaks would raise about $1.2 billion in 2012. By comparison, the five oil companies had combined revenues of $1.5 trillion last year.

Menendez’s bill has a dubious future beyond a talking point.

Republicans, who now control the House and have enough votes to block legislation in the Senate, oppose tax increases. They are joined on this issue by a handful of Democrats, mainly from oil-producing states. Seven Senate Democrats teamed with Republicans to defeat a tax proposal similar to Obama’s in February.

It would be foolhardy to assume though, given the current economic climate, that Americans might not be willing to pay another 30cents per gallon if that meant it was the last time that big oil got their tax breaks too.  If cutting off tax breaks for big oil meant more community support, then people might consider paying more at the pump just like paying more taxes to fund a millage for the local school or library.  It’s not that Americans won’t pay taxes to pay for some services, but they rarely like to pay taxes to support oil companies.   Take head, Senators, giving oil execs breaks will only cost you come election time.

I’m not the only one who is making this connection between elections and big oil breaks, consumers are calling for politicians to wear their sponsors on their sleeves the way Nascar racers do.

A Thomas comments: Senators and Congressmen should have to wear the logos of their Corporate sponsers just like race cars do. Then we will really know which way they will vote.

But that would be too much truth for politicians to handle.

Other people question the ability of gas prices to rise so quickly based on Middle Eastern conflict, clearly not believe that “many factors” excuse that oil execs use to explain such high prices for gas:

When a barrel of oil is pumped out of the ground it takes 6-8 weeks on the average before it becomes gasoline. So can somebody explain why when oil prices jump the increase is seen IMMEDIATELY at the pump. But when prices drop it takes weeks even months so see prices drop. This ratio needs to be consistent. One other major problem is futures trading, speculation. they should outlaw “Psychic Trading”, which is what it amounts to.Here in my home town it had reached 3.89, then over ten days or so it trickled down to 3.73 as of 5-11-11, but this morning on my way to work it had jumped back to 3.89. Big govt, Big oil all sleepin toghether in a big bed which is the American TAX PAYERS pocket. Outlaw futures trading and oil companies donating to political campaigns.

These are comments posted under a Yahoo article on Senators questioning execs about gas prices.  Lest anyone question whether or not voters link gas prices with voting policies, I will leave you with my favorite Yahoo User quote:

Problem is we the consumers are at the mercy of both the elected thugs in congress and the corporate oil thugs.

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