The American political system is driven by campaign contributions from corporations like Exxon. It is very easy to see how much these contributions buy for the oil and gas industry- $4 billion tax dollars. In spite of record profits, the industry continues receiving tax dollars while American families struggle to make ends meet.
AAA reports the national price at the pump nationally is $3.826 per gallon while Exxon is earning $104 million per day in profits, yet the $4 billion dollar taxpayer subsidies continue to pour out in oil subsidies. As consumers are paying higher prices at the pump it is disheartening to see tax dollars dumped into an industry that is earning record profits. Consumers see increases in household items, groceries and additional purchases, not only the higher price when filling the gas tank in their vehicle.
“Last year, ExxonMobil, one of the world’s most profitable companies, earned $1,300 in profits per second. As consumers paid record-high springtime gas prices, Exxon posted first quarter profits of $9.45 billion.” according to ThinkProgress.
Increased production increases contribute to higher earnings. The Washington Post reports, “Exxon Mobil reported that its combined production of oil and natural gas was up 10 percent overall from the first quarter of 2010, thanks to a big increase in output in Qatar and to tapping shale gas assets it acquired last year when it bought the independent exploration firm XTO Energy. But the increase resulted from higher natural gas volumes while oil production dropped, disappointing investors because crude oil prices have been stronger than natural gas. Midway through the trading day, Exxon’s stock had fallen about 1 percent.”
Legislation that continues to support the industry comes at a high price. According to SourceWatch, “Exxon is one of the largest energy company contributors to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. In 2010, ExxonMobil spent $12.5 million on lobbying. You can see a list of current lobbyists working for ExxonMobil HERE. There is also a list of the bills ExxonMobil has lobbied for in the past five years HERE. These contributions total $676,177 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. (R-TX) for $46,000. Rep. Cornyn, for his part, has consistently voted with the oil industry on energy, war and climate bills. Contributions like this from fossil fuel companies to members of Congress are often seen as a political barrier to pursuing clean energy. The company spent $14,520,000 for lobbying in 2006. Of this total, $1,055,000 was spent using outside lobbying firms, two of which included Nickles Group and DCI Group.  More information on oil industry contributions to Congress can be found at FollowtheOilMoney.org, a project created by the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Oil Change International.”
For most companies, expansion and growth can be tied to higher profits, but with Exxon the number of employees goes down, the profit goes up. (see article graphic). What we continue to see is record profits, less job creation and higher prices to consumers. Compounding the overall cost to consumers is tied to the taxpayer subsidy.
A candidate for a political office receives contributions from various sources. A large portion of those contributions come from industries seeking support in Congress for legislation to help their industry thrive. Eliminating the power corporations have that allows them to “buy” legislation that supports their industry would go a long way toward fixing the ills of the American political system.
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.