FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2008
CONTACT: Shrayas Jatkar, 505.459.2718
Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384


Big Oil Rakes In $610 in Profit for Each New Mexico Driver

Obama Offers Plan for Real Relief from Pain at the Pump, Energy Independence;
McCain Receives Over $1 Million from Oil Industry, Proposes More of the Same

Albuquerque, NM – Newly released campaign finance records and John McCain’s misguided and dangerous energy proposals demonstrate that McCain and his allies in Congress are only interested in more of the same: more drilling; more expensive, dirty, and dangerous nuclear power; and more schemes designed to pad Big Oil’s bottom line while denying consumers real relief at the pump. Meanwhile, New Mexico families are suffering as gas prices – and oil company profits – surge to new records.

Big Oil Raking in Record Profits at the Expense of New Mexico Drivers

An analysis of the record-breaking 2007 profits of just the five biggest oil companies—ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips—shows that they made an astonishing $123,300,000,000 last year alone. That works out to approximately $793,000,000 in profits from New Mexico ’s 1.3 million drivers – about $610 for each driver in New Mexico.

“Big Oil has New Mexico consumers over a barrel,” said Shrayas Jatkar, Conservation Organizer. “We literally cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the Bush administration and it seems unlikely that a campaign full of oil industry lobbyists and awash in millions made at the expense of American consumers is going to stand up to Big Oil and deliver the kind of change we need. By contrast, Barack Obama has stood up to special interests and has a plan to help New Mexico get through today’s crisis, while putting us on the path to energy independence in order to rid us of Big Oil’s chokehold once and for all.”

New Campaign Finance Reports Show Big Oil Has Funneled over $5 million to McCain and the Republican Party

Campaign finance reports filed June 30, 2008 and analyzed by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics show that John McCain has received $1,001,668 from the oil and gas industry, while the Republican Party has separately raked in an astonishing $4,002,662. These new reports show that McCain hauled in nearly $210,000 from the industry in the month of June alone – a month in which he flip-flopped on offshore drilling and held numerous fundraisers in Big Oil’s backyard.

“The failed policies of the Bush administration and its allies like John McCain have crippled our economy and now tens of millions of hardworking Americans are suffering,” said Jatkar. “Barack Obama went to Detroit and told the automakers what they needed to hear – that they must make cars that get better gas mileage; John McCain went straight to Houston and told the oil industry what it wanted to hear – that he strongly supported their desire to begin the wholesale, unfettered ‘exploitation’ of our coasts. It’s clear that neither our economy, nor our environment can afford more of the same.”

Lobbying disclosure forms also indicate that at least 23 lobbyists who lobby on behalf of some of the biggest oil companies in the world are involved in John McCain’s campaign.

John McCain v. Barack Obama on Gas Prices and Breaking Big Oil’s Chokehold on America

Obama’s Plan for Real Short-Term Relief v. John McCain’s Gas Tax Gimmick
• Obama wants a second round of stimulus checks for consumers and an additional $1,000 tax cut for working and middle-class families to offer Americans short-term relief from crippling energy prices and the skyrocketing cost of food and other goods. Obama would pay for this tax credit by repealing billions in taxpayer-funded giveaways to Big Oil and by imposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies that fail to invest their excess profits in clean energy. (Source: Bloomberg, 05/01/2008)

• John McCain has proposed a gimmick: a so-called gas tax holiday that would do absolutely nothing to lower prices at the pump, but would pad Big Oil’s bottom line with an extra 18 cents a gallon and potentially bankrupt the highway trust fund at a time when our infrastructure is already crumbling. His misguided plan has been denounced by over 200 leading economists – including 4 Nobel Prize winners. (Source: Bloomberg News, 05/05/2008)

Obama’s Plan for 50 MPG Cars v. John McCain’s $300 Million Giveaway Gimmick
• Obama knows that the long-term solution to high gas prices is making sure we have cars that get better gas mileage. He fought hard to pass the first increase in fuel economy in more than 30 years. Now he wants to go further and give the automakers the tools they need to double fuel economy to 50 miles per gallon. (Source: www.barackobama.com/issues/energy)

• John McCain didn’t even bother to show up for any votes on last year’s landmark fuel economy/energy bill. And he has had a spotty record on the issue in the past. Instead of providing the real leadership we need right now and putting forth a real plan, McCain proposed a $300 million gimmicky giveaway to grab headlines. (Sources: Washington Post, 05/13/2008; New York Times, 05/12/2008; 2007 Senates Votes #208, #225, #226, #416, #425, #430; Detroit Free Press, 07/09/2008)

Obama’s Plan on Speculators v. McCain’s Empty Rhetoric
• Obama knows that Wall Street speculators are gaming the system and running up the price of oil at the expense of hardworking American consumers. He supports the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 (S.3044), which would crack down on speculators and put in place other measures to protect consumers, make sure oil companies are paying their fair share on their record profits, and encourage the development of renewable energy. (Source: Associated Press, 06/10/2008)

• John McCain says he wants to take on speculators, but has refused to support the Consumer-First Act. One of the biggest loopholes exploited by speculators – the so-called “Enron Loophole” – was put into law by one of McCain’s closest campaign advisers, former Senator Phil Gramm, who also blocked efforts to close the loophole in 2002. (Sources: Associated Press, 06/10/2008; Dallas Morning News, 06/29/2008)

Obama’s Plan to Make Big Oil Pay Its Fair Share v. McCain’s Texas-Sized Tax Cut for Big Oil
• Obama wants to end the billions in subsidies and giveaways that that oil industry receives each year – at taxpayer expense. He also wants to make sure Big Oil is paying its fair share on its tens of billions in record profits. He would impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies that fail to invest their excess profits in the clean energy technologies we need to end our addiction to oil and fight global warming. (Source: Reuters, 06/09/2008)

• John McCain has mocked Obama over his proposal for a windfall profits tax – even though McCain himself said he was open to the idea just two months ago. Meanwhile, he has proposed a tax plan that would offer a $3.8 BILLION tax cut to the five largest American oil companies alone. This plan would cost a stunning $1.7 trillion overall and put any hope of balancing the budget well out of reach. (Sources: New York Times, 06/17/2008; Grist, 05/16/2008; Center for American Progress Action, 05/27/2008, http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2008/pdf/oil_tax.pdf)

Offshore Drilling Reality v. Rhetoric
• John McCain flip-flopped on offshore drilling and gave the oil industry exactly what it’s wanted for 30 years. (Source: Politico, 06/18/2008)

• McCain claims that the Bush-McCain drilling plan would offer Americans “psychological” relief. (Source: ABC News, 06/24/2008)

• Even the Bush Administration admits that drilling offshore won’t do anything to lower gas prices today, tomorrow, or even a decade from now. (Source: Energy Information Administration)

• Oil companies currently hold leases on 41,000,000 acres offshore, but a mere 8,123,000 of those acres are actually in production. (Source: House Natural Resources Committee)

• More than 80 percent of the total oil available offshore is in areas that are already open to leasing. (Source: House Natural Resources Committee)


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Tags: election, energy, gas, politics, presidential, prices

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Some of us are capable of looking past naked self interest long enough to notice that Bush's reckless deficit spending has destroyed the value of the US dollar which has in turn lead to most of our current economic troubles. Its not as if Bush cut taxes and concurrently cut spending. He cut taxes while increasing spending by the highest percentage in history.
I enjoyed the Clinton era. During that eight year period there was economic growth, low unemployment, social issues were addressed and the best part was we were not at war. America thrived during the Clinton administration. When Clinton took office he had a big job in cleaning up the mess that the first Bush administration made. He did that during his first four years in office and during that time he set plans and policies in place to stimulate growth which occurred in his second term.

Now let’s look at the end of the eight years of the Bush administration. America is in a recession, fuel prices are increasing at an alarming rate, unemployment is rising, social issues are not being addressed/ignored and we are spending hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to rebuild a country that has millions of dollars in oil profits that are not being used for that purpose. W undid all of the progress in his first three years in office and now the new president has a bigger mess to clean up.

Yes, I think that Clinton was one of the best presidents we have had in quite a while. I did not mind living in a country in which unemployment was low, we were not a war and the president paid attention to domestic matters. Back then corporations didn’t run the country like they do now.

I think that Obama has realistic goals that are achievable and will benefit all stakeholders not just stockholders.
This is a rather simplistic analysis D. Michael. Building individual and community economic prosperity is comprised of a myriad of factors, not just the tax dollars paid/not paid to the US government.

As far as voting against presumed self-interest, Americans have been doing that for years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What's_the_Matter_with_Kansas
The rich are getting richer- that's why their taxes make up more of the total.

What does this have to do with Albuquerque?
The article has nothing to do with Abq, which is why I haven't responded previously. This should be moved to off-topic.
The original article is a piece of a campaign organized by the Sierra Club and the LCV on behalf of the Obama campaign to smear McCain's record of pro-conservation votes and prop up Obama's campaign promises.

Then typically, the discussion took a few tangents and well...comedy ensues.
How elitist to make a statement such as, “So 50% of the people you know don't make enough to pay any taxes? You should update your list of friends.” It’s attitudes like this that perpetuate the falsehood that, “Trickle Down Economics” works—it doesn’t!

Wealth is transferred, not created! If wealth was created, then why isn’t everybody rich? Remember the basis of money? Yes, this discussion is about Albuquerque. Are you stating that economics, the price of oil/energy does not apply to Albuquerque? Remember, some of the tough issues are not always that fun or upbeat.
Also, what does it say about our great nation when 50% of our citizens are too poor to pay any taxes! You know about the 80-20 rule, right? 80% of the wealth is held by 20% of the nation—think about it.

I think that it behooves the oil companies to look at alterative sources of energy because oil is limited and running out at an increasing rate due to China’s increasing needs. Since oil companies are in the business of energy they should diversify and they have the profits to do so at this time. Denmark draws over 70% of its energy from wind power…other countries get it…when America gets a competent leader we well get it too.
I understand your point, the government is supposed to be a regulatory entity and not dictate the direction of business. The direction of business is based on supply and demand. The fact that the oil industry is an oligopoly helps to keep supply low and the speculators in the market has driven up demand and allowed the oil companies to make record profits.

The “Windfall Profits Tax” is merely a negative incentive used by the government to redistribute the skewed profits the oil companies have made in the last few years. The oil companies have received tax breaks for years at the tax payers’ expense. The Windfall Tax will not hurt the oil company profits or the CEO’s for that matter. In my opinion it is just leveling the playing field.
Ok, as you know in an oligopoly there are a limited number of companies producing/manufacturing. I understand that the oil industry in this country cannot control the price of global oil; I never said that; however, they have control over the supply of oil they produce in this country. What is limiting production is the number of refineries. The oil industry has not built a refinery since the 70s. There is no incentive to build a new one because this keeps supply low and profits high—oligopolies. If our country had more refineries, supply would increase and prices would drop for our country.

As I mentioned, the Wind Fall Tax is simply a negative incentive. The incentive is build more refineries. If the oil companies are unwilling to be proactive in keeping supply up, then it is up to our government to take the necessary steps to correct that issue. It is not a social ill for a company to succeed; it is socially irresponsible for companies to succeed at the American public’s expense. Oil companies produce a commodity—energy—necessary to sustain life. They have a responsibility to keep supplies at a level that will not negatively affect the economy. The price of oil is affecting every other industry in this country. The economy is suffering, with the exception of the Oil Industry! Don’t you think that is skewed? When a company succeeds at the expense and welfare of its customers, I think that is skewed. Profit is one thing, greed is another. Economics is about balance—supply and demand. When one or the other is adversely affected the economy is no longer in balance. That is what I meant about skewed profits.

When I talk about leveling the playing field, I’m talking about redistribution of that wealth back into the American public’s hands. We as a country could use that money to develop alternative sources of energy, put plans in place that will help put our country in a position in which we are not dependant on foreign oil. Thus, the price of oil will not affect our economy to the extent that it does now. Oil companies should be held to a higher standard than most other corporations, because they produce the one commodity all other commodities are based on—energy.

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