February 3, 2006

John D. Rockefeller is long gone...

From a good piece by Ben Stein..

...Meanwhile, why is it so bad for oil companies to make a profit, even a big profit? That profit doesn't go into the pockets of Dr. Evil. It doesn't go to Saddam Hussein (not anymore). It goes to tens of millions of stockholders who use the dividends and the increase in share price to pay for their RV's and retirements and their (ungrateful) kids' college education. John D. Rockefeller is long gone. Anyone in America with a few twenties in his pocket can become a shareholder of a big oil company and share in those profits. Those profits go to teachers' unions and policemen's unions and to any person on this earth who cares to speculate that the big profits will continue. Or, as my father once said to me, and I have said before, "If you think oil company profits are obscene, buy stock in the oil companies."

Then a huge slice of the profits go to federal and state taxes, running into the tens of billions of dollars. Oil companies in general pay between 30 and 40 percent of their profits in tax. That pays for a lot of textbooks (that no doubt teach how bad oil companies are) and a lot of hospitals for rehabilitating wounded Marines...(Thanks to Dean)

A lot of people are simply not sane when the subject is oil. People who happily pay $3 for a quart of drinking water (which probably flowed out of the ground ready-to-drink) think they are being plundered by ogres if they pay $3 for a gallon of gasoline (which may have been extracted from deep beneath the ocean floor by a billion dollar drilling platform, transported in a $100 million ship, re-made in a $500 million refinery.)

And we all own the oil companies. The lefties who denounce "big oil" almost certainly own oil stocks as part of their pension plan or retirement investments.

But though they endure the profits as a necessary burden for themselves, at least liberals want to help others! That's why they blocked Social Security Reform. They didn't want ordinary workers to be tainted by the evil of high profits and corrupted by the the sordid riches of capitalism. Better they should stay in their proper place, dependent on government and the leadership of the wise...

(Dean also provided a link to a breakdown in who owns Exxon shares. Very interesting. We own some, via the Fidelity Contrafund.)

Posted by John Weidner at February 3, 2006 7:49 AM
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