Scapegoated again

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If you ever wanted to see a perfect example of the theater of the absurd, then look in on Congress' arrogant grilling of Big Oil executives. The absurdity is replayed every time the market price of oil goes through the roof, followed by soaring gasoline, heating and pump prices.

Our lawmakers were at it again Wednesday, reaming out executives from the nation's four big oil companies. ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron and Conoco were, as always, accused of making too much money -- or, as demagogues prefer to call it, "windfall profits." And, again, hot-headed House members threatened to raise the firms' taxes or, in their terminology, "remove the subsidies."

Whenever businesses make what Congress believes to be too much money, they define it as "subsidies," as if all the money in the nation belongs to the government.

Understand this: Any "windfall profit" grab by Congress would only dampen companies' investments into renewable fuels and lead to even higher prices at the pump. Working Americans who invest in mutual funds or IRAs, or participate in pension plans, could be hurt, too. They may not realize that a lot of their own money is tied up in Big Oil from which they benefit, directly or indirectly, from the firms' profits and generous dividends.

Time and again, Big Oil has been investigated by both government and independent agencies for conspiring to fix prices, hiding profits, or in some way acting against the public interest, and every time the probes come up empty.

In fact, Congress is more to blame for pump prices heading toward $4 a gallon than anything the oil companies are doing. As the Big Oil execs pointed out to their inquisitors, the best way to bring down the price of oil is to increase supply. But Congress disallows companies from drilling for domestic oil off 85 percent of U.S. coastal waters or in Alaska's oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Nor does Congress favor boosting the nation's refinery capacity, so naturally we become more dependent on foreign sources of oil and refinery to fuel our economy and transportation needs. Congress also is dragging its feet on developing more environmentally friendly nuclear power to meet our energy needs.

One reason Congress keeps jumping on Big Oil is because Big Oil is as unpopular with the public as Congress is. Yet the real villain behind endlessly rising oil prices is OPEC -- the cartel of oil-producing nations, mostly in the Mideast, who keep oil prices artificially high.

To its credit, Congress is catching onto this fact, telling our Mideast friends this week, including Iraq, that U.S. military units over there are being charged far too much for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The cartel should start subsidizing those fuel costs because of the stake the Mideast has in stabilizing Iraq and keeping Iran's brand of radical Islam from dominating the region.

In any event, until Congress fixes its own role in soaring fuel prices and does more to bring OPEC to heel, it should stop haranguing the nation's oil companies. It accomplishes nothing, except to make grandstanding members look like fools.

What this country needs from Washington, and so far hasn't gotten, is a visionary energy policy that curbs consumption, promotes domestic energy production and encourages research into viable renewables.

Ordinary Americanscan also help bring down oil prices by following the example of independent truckers: Just pull over for awhile.

Carpool. Buy fuel-efficient autos. Cut down on unnecessary driving. It's going to take work by all of us to curb spiraling oil prices. Scapegoating Big Oil won't get the job done.

Comments (25) Add comment
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SoonerorLater
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SoonerorLater 04/05/08 - 02:03 am
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And add to his Hillary's

And add to his Hillary's ABSURD comment that the government should "seize the oil company profits for alternative energy funding". That is pure big government socialism taking money from companies (that does not belong to the govt.) and for govt to dictate what those profits are to be used for. She fails to realize that the companies take these profits and distribute it to investors, anyone with a share in oil company stocks. That would be any single investor with a mutual fund, 401K, or IRA as the article points out. If Hillary wants to distribute funds for the greater good, she should start with her $109 million. Those that back her, be very careful of what you are asking for, for her to use the words "seize the profits" sounds like a sound bite from Hugo Chavez. When he does not like what private industry is doing, or they are making to much profit (whatever that is), he "nationalizes" the industry (ie. takes control of it).

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/05/08 - 02:11 am
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Scapegoating Big Oil does get

Scapegoating Big Oil does get the job done, if the job is to garner votes from the great unwashed. Graduates from government schools, especially those that thought they were attending "pubic schools", don't understand things like accounting, hidden taxes or anything concerning international finances. All they see is the price at the pump and the headlines that read "Bush raises gas prices again" or "Bush kills more soldiers in Iraq and raises gas prices for his rich friends" or That really mean republican, Bush, .... well, you get the idea. When the unbelievably stupid "Congressional Grill" is turned on Big Oil, the base is happy and stupid action is supported by stupid people. The trick is successful. Scapegoating is very smart for the Dems.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 04/05/08 - 04:54 am
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This is true, you are right.

This is true, you are right. But shame on us as a people for not helping as much as the next guy!

christian134
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christian134 04/05/08 - 05:25 am
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You put it all together in a

You put it all together in a nutshell patricia...well said....Hopefully someone somewhere will put it all together and help this nation's people instead of hindering.......

jack
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jack 04/05/08 - 10:08 am
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Ask the demagogues (DIMs) who

Ask the demagogues (DIMs) who interrogate these Oil CEOs when the government is going to stop charging 58 cents per gallon of gas to fund their ear marks with? It is obvious that they aren't spending it on keeping our bridges and roads safe. Another step in the right direction is to lower the speed limit on insterstates back to 55 MPH. This would put a big dent in gas consumption and force lower prices. DIMs are so busy with their "invstigations" (read inquisitions), they can't get any REAL legislation passed. Yeah, vote for Hitlery, let her confiscate those oil company profits and see just how high the cost of gasoline will go. Yeah, keep us from drilling our own resources as well, all the while blaiming "big oil" for the problem. The ability to drill, refine and pump our own oil would cause OPEC prices to drop[ like a ship's anchor. Hopefully, China drilling off our coast will also cause OPEC prices to drop. Why not us?

KSL
134766
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KSL 04/05/08 - 10:28 am
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The word"seize" reminds me of

The word"seize" reminds me of "Chavez." The smartest woman in the world does not always choose her words wisely. And where are the environmentalists (so-called) fussing about China drilling off our coast? It would seem that if it is inevitable, that our technology and commitment to "clean" and "safe" would be the lessor of two evils.

grouse
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grouse 04/05/08 - 10:44 am
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Congress needs to stop
Unpublished

Congress needs to stop picking on those poor billionaires. It's a shame that our fearless leader has never addressed the problem of high gas prices, but then he's a former oilman isn't he?

dani
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dani 04/05/08 - 11:06 am
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It's all George Bush's fault.

It's all George Bush's fault. I don't know why Congress can't see that. Idiots know it is true. He OWNs OPEC...They need to investigate that. HO-Hum. Something like that. A rainy Sat and I can either go out and get wet, try to avoid those with no headlights, driving too fast for conditions... : ) grouse, grouse... the president of the United States has no control over the prices of oil (or the economy for that matter). At least Congress is smart enough to recognize that fact or they would be grilling him instead of the oil people.

KSL
134766
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KSL 04/05/08 - 11:50 am
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You go, Dani!

You go, Dani!

johnsmith
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johnsmith 04/05/08 - 11:52 am
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You know, I was at Publix

You know, I was at Publix yesterday, and I've noticed that the price of kidney beans has gone up by about 50% in the last year or so. Not only that, but it's true for every single brand of kidney beans. Now, come on, surely you all can see what's going on? This is clear evidence of price gouging. Big Kidney Bean is well aware that, with the summer season upon us, most of us will be making 3-Bean Salad, 7-Bean Salad, even NINE-Bean Salad. Given that they have a stranglehold on the kidney bean market, they are clearly acting in collusion to rape the American consumer and hold us hostage to their obscene legume profits. When will Congress perform its Constitutionally-mandated Kidney Bean Pricing Oversight function and take action? What will it take? Do you REALLY want to go to a 4th of July picnic that only features potato salad, cole slaw and macaroni salad? The horror! It's time to bring Big Kidney Bean to heel, and if they won't do what's right by investing in the very attractive chickpea and white bean Alternative Bean Market, or at least buy some methane offsets for the pollution caused by their product, then I say: NATIONALIZE!

KSL
134766
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KSL 04/05/08 - 12:04 pm
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Gas supply under Carter,

Gas supply under Carter, grouse? Comments? Comparisons? Price adjusted for inflation? How about interest rates? Up to around 18% for home mortgages. What is it now, in the 4's and 5's? First time home buyers can buy now. When my husband and I graduated from college interest rates were high, compared to what they had experience. My parents recommended we wait to buy a home. Guess what, they didn't go down for one heck of a long time. We finally bit the bullet and bought. Later refinanced.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/05/08 - 01:50 pm
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Big Kidney Bean, that's

Big Kidney Bean, that's funny. I love your writing johnsmith. I'll bet you confused half of the nation with your post, but the rest of us understand.

grouse
1635
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grouse 04/05/08 - 01:55 pm
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First time buyers can buy?
Unpublished

First time buyers can buy? Come on, most can't even qualify prices are so high. I can't find any stats, but my guess is gas prices have surpassed Carter's...and you can't blame him and not blame Bush. Had we listened to Carter and started making better, most efficient vehicles, we might not be in this mess.

charlie-D
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charlie-D 04/05/08 - 02:07 pm
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Grouse, go check the price of

Grouse, go check the price of those kidney beans and get back with me!!!!

KSL
134766
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KSL 04/05/08 - 02:31 pm
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Well, grouse, those homes are

Well, grouse, those homes are selling. And if the idiots would stay in school and not drop out they would qualifiy. I didn't listen to Jimmy Carter no matter what he said. In the first place, he is apt to lie. I know that for a fact. First hand in person and up front!

KSL
134766
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KSL 04/05/08 - 02:42 pm
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Oh and grouse, part of the

Oh and grouse, part of the reason that home prices are high is because of insidious unfunded federal government mandates. Everyone Yeah Rahs the federal government when it tells the states they have to enforce certain regualations. They just don't realize who is ultimately paying for them. It's the consumer. Those people you say can't afford to buy!

jack
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jack 04/05/08 - 03:20 pm
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Grouse, just what is Bush

Grouse, just what is Bush supposed to say were he to "address" the price of oil? Maybe invade Iran and seize their oil?

jack
10
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jack 04/05/08 - 03:24 pm
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JohnSmith, you are toooooo

JohnSmith, you are toooooo funny! I bet the DIMocRAT idiots on this forum bit.

jack
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jack 04/05/08 - 03:26 pm
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Yeah Gouse, and implement

Yeah Gouse, and implement Carter's energy conservation program by putting on a sweater and turning down the heat in the winter. Chavez threatened to quit selling us oil only to back off as he realizd that Bush would not allow him to wreck our economy (if yoo know what I mean).

johnsmith
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johnsmith 04/05/08 - 05:05 pm
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Alright, but tell me if

Alright, but tell me if you're laughing when you sit down to your TWO-bean salad...then it won't be so funny!

owensjef
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owensjef 04/05/08 - 06:27 pm
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How are lentils doing, I like

How are lentils doing, I like lentils. LOL

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/05/08 - 06:59 pm
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Thanks for reminding me I

Thanks for reminding me I have some lentils i would like to add to a soup.

owensjef
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owensjef 04/05/08 - 07:04 pm
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good day for soup

good day for soup

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 04/05/08 - 08:03 pm
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Lentils are the Prius of the

Lentils are the Prius of the bean world. The greenies love them but, get real, you know there's no substitute for a kidney bean :)

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/05/08 - 08:19 pm
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LOL. I like my kidney beans

LOL. I like my kidney beans with venison in a chili stew.

dont live there anymore
2
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dont live there anymore 04/05/08 - 08:34 pm
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John Smith that is a LOL.

John Smith that is a LOL. You have to have kidney beans to make the summer picnics perfect. No alternative bean will make better methane.

KSL
134766
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KSL 04/06/08 - 12:26 am
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Durn johnsmith, I came after

Durn johnsmith, I came after you and was anticlimactic. No way to top that.

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