Riding record oil prices in the third quarter, Exxon Mobil Corp. on Thursday posted the biggest quarterly profit ever for a U.S. company: $14.83 billion, or about $112,000 a minute.
The results, amounting to $2.86 a share, beat the Irving, Texas, company's previous record and shattered analysts' average expectation of $2.38 a share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
Consumer groups and politicians saw reason for anger in those numbers.
"Our economy is suffering from many factors, but one of them is the price of oil and our nation's dependence on it," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Markey said that "investments in renewable energy continue to lag with the world's most profitable company, and as an industry as a whole."
"Consumers got credit card debt and empty wallets, while Exxon got double-digit billions," says Judy Dugan of Consumer Watchdog. "Citizens deserve to be mad. They should demand that government get back in the business of protecting them from corporate greed."
Those simple country folk with their good ol' fashioned common sense and small town values continue to make more money than any company in history, quarter after quarter, year after year. Yay for them!
Meanwhile, liberal whiners in Galveston, Texas complain that government isn't coming to hold their hands. "Boo hoo!" these cityslickers say, "Hurricane Ike wiped us out and we're not getting any help! Boo-hoo-hoo!"
"Things are far from normal in Galveston. Take a drive in Channelview or Bayou Shore Drive or the middle-class neighborhoods north and south of Offatts Bayou. Take a drive through the war zone formerly known as downtown Galveston," writes Dolph Tillotson for the Galveston Daily News. "Our town is under siege to destruction, loss and collapse, and middle-class families are wondering whether to return and if they can return."
Tillotson writes that Galveston "needs help, and lots of it, from the Texas Senate and House delegations." That's right, go crying to Washington. Didn't Dolph and the people of Galveston get the memo? Big gummint is bad -- and they should applaud the fact that it's off their backs. No one's taking wealth from other states to redistribute it in Texas; after all, that's socialism. They should build lean-tos from the roofs of ruined buildings and live in those. That's the American way. If they're really lucky, George W. Bush will come by in an armored Ford Escalade and hand out little flags on wooden dowels! Nothing lifts the spirits more than a photo op display of hollow patriotism. Make sure you wave them real hard!
Of course, government understands that some good Americans do need help. Compassionate conservatism and all... That's why we're doling out tax dollars hand over fist to bail out banks. See, banks need to be able to loan money to get the economy back on track, so the government gave them $700 billion to loan out.
Except the banks, with their brilliant business sense, aren't using that money to make loans. They're using that money to buy other banks. So, when you get turned down for a loan, it's because the bank has taken all that money and used it for a merger.
This practice isn't without it's predictable critics -- Democrats want to make sure the money is used to make loans, since that was the whole purpose of the bailout, but they're just liberal whiners. They probably don't even have little flags on wooden dowels. And big government bureaucrats in Washington don't like it either.
"The capital is there both to be lent and to make them stronger, so counterparties will have more confidence in them and lend to them more freely," said Treasury Department regulator John Dugan. Typically, he thinks Washington should decide how to use your money, not humble country bumpkins in corporate suites.
In fact, some believe that government should pay attention to all the tax money they hand out to small town family-values types in limos. For example, the US has paid $6 billion (or more) to private contractors in Iraq. What did taxpayers get for that money? None of your bees' wax, that's what.
The U.S. has spent about $6 billion on private security contractors and related services in Iraq, although the real tally remains unknown because the government has failed to track security costs, according to an audit from Iraq released Thursday.
Since the war began, the U.S has hired some 77 private security firms to provide armed guards to protect U.S. and Iraqi government officials, supplies and buildings in the middle of the war zone, said the audit by the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Iraq.
Another 230 companies have provided related "security services" that range from intelligence gathering for private corporations in Iraq to protecting computer networks from hackers, according to the audit and interviews.
We don't know exactly how much we paid to get... well, no one really knows what. But it's totally worth it, because small business owners like the multi-billion dollar Blackwater USA say it is. Big government not only isn't going to tell them what to do with all that money, but it's not even exactly sure what we've hired them to do. Seriously, what are they doing with that money? No one knows, because big government is off their backs and paying no attention at all. Good for them -- give them little flags on wooden dowels. Maybe they can hand them out in Iraq.
These are the sort of common sense solutions brought to you by the Republican Party. If all of this seems like the best goddam way to run a railroad, then vote for John McCain.
However, if you're a liberal, commie treehugger who thinks none of this makes any damned sense at all, maybe you should just stay home. President McCain will thank you. In fact, maybe he'll drive by your house in a big armored Ford Escalade and give you a little flag on a wooden dowel.
Golly, but wouldn't that be fine?