Bush-Cheney and Big Oil’s Big Summer

For those with short memories, during campaign 2000, the Bush-Cheney team promised voters an energy plan that would lower gasoline prices and here we are 5 years later, paying the highest prices at the pumps in the nation’s history.

With soaring energy prices putting our economy at risk, and dependence on oil from the Middle East putting our national security at risk, Americans are still being held hostage to price fixing schemes and Bush has not made a single move to remedy the situation.

In campaign 2000, he lead voters to believe that he knew how to deal with OPEC. In fact, the little twirp told President Clinton to get on the phone and “jawbone” OPEC.

“What I think the president ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots,” he told reporters.

“OPEC has gotten its supply act together, and it’s driving the price, like it did in the past,” Bush said. “And the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the prices,” he advised.

Bush ended that little speech with this brilliant remark: “One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up.” Duh—–really?

I guess phone service at the White House must have been cut off once Bush took office because on February 10, 2004, when OPEC announced its intention to cut its output by 1 million barrels a day, and crude oil reached a 13-year high in mid-March 2004, there was no “jawboning” on phone to OPEC by the blabber-mouth president.

By the end of 2004, higher oil prices had cost consumers over $25 billion since Bush took office. The big three American oil companies, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobile, and ConocoPhillips, realized profits of $33.6 billion during Bush’s first three years in office.

According the Wall Street Journal and CNN Money, during the first few months of 2004, top oil companies saw a gain in profits of close to 40%. And its been all downhill for Big Oil this year.

On October 27, 2005, Reuter’s reported that Exxon Mobil posted a quarterly profit of $9.9 billion, “the largest in U.S. corporate history, as it raked in a bonanza from soaring oil and gas prices.” Exxon’s record earnings topped the $9 billion net profit previously reported by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Reuters said.

Exxon reported third-quarter net income up 75 percent from the year-ago period. “It was among the biggest quarterly profits of any company in history, and amounted to a per-minute profit of $74,879.23 during the quarter,” according to the October 28, 2005 Wall Street Journal.

“Shell, the third largest oil company by market value behind Exxon and Britain’s BP PLC, said its third-quarter net income rose 68 percent to $9.03 billion, on $76.44 billion in revenue,” the Journal reported.

These record profits are scandalous at a time when Americans are being squeezed dry at the pumps and heating costs are set to go through the roof in the coming winter months.

According to the Federal Energy Information Administration, the price of a gallon of regular gas in the same week the profits were announced, was up 28% from a year ago. Natural-gas prices have almost doubled in the past year and the EIA predicts that owners of gas-heated homes will see a 48% hike this winter over last year’s already inflated prices, and homes heated with heating oil could see a 32% increase.

While Big Oil keeps raking in the dough, rising fuel costs are taking a heavy toll on other US industries. The added expense is creating havoc for the airline industry. For every 1 cent increase for jet fuel, the industry spends an additional $180 million a year. In 2004, increased costs for the airline industry were estimated to be more than $7 billion.

According to the American Trucking Association, truckers use about 30 billion gallons of diesel a year and for every 1 cent hike in price the industry incurs about $300 million more in operating costs. The increased cost to the trucking industry was over $6 billion in 2004.

Farmers are battling with much higher operating expenses since Bush took office. In 2004, farmers combined spent an additional $7 billion for gasoline and diesel fuel for agricultural needs.

During the dynamic duo’s reelection campaign, Bush-Cheney spokesman, Scott Stanzel, told reporters: “President Bush and Vice President Cheney want to keep taxes low and keep the economy moving. They have proposed an energy plan that will provide for a stable, affordable and secure energy supply.”

To that I say, then where the hell is it?

By now, the administrations policies and tax cuts are having trickle down adverse effects on the average family’s everyday life as well. During their 2004 campaign, a Bush-Cheney campaign slogan was “results do matter.” Lets compare overall “results” on families since Bush moved to Washington.

When Clinton left office, life was much better for the average American than when he took the reins from the first president Bush. The nation’s record of economic success was unprecedented. Budgets were balanced, family income was up by 17%, 23 million jobs were created, nearly 8 million Americans had moved out of poverty, there was record homeownership, and Clinton left a huge budget surplus.

In comparison, the Bush-Cheney record is atrocious. While it is certainly true that corporate profits are at an all-time high, average wages for American workers haven’t even kept pace with inflation. Millions of jobs have been lost, there has been a continuous increase in poverty year after year, household debt is at a record high, college tuition will soon be unreachable for many families, over 3 million people have lost their health insurance, and family insurance premiums have increased by an average $2630 a year.

The $397 billion surplus, previously projected by the Congressional Budget Office for 2004, has been frittered away through $2 trillion worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the war profiteering scheme that was launched 3 years ago could end up bankrupting the whole country before its all over.

In hindsight, I say give me a guy with an overactive libido who cares about average Americans any day, over our current president, who at best is completely incompetent, and at worst is a greedy, self-centered control freak who doesn’t give a damn about anybody besides himself and his rich cronies.

Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government. She can be reached at: epringle05@yahoo.com



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