Democrats & Liberals Archives

Don't Punish Success

“Don’t punish success.” I’m sure you have heard this Republican mantra often. And where do you find great success today? In oil companies. So how come Republicans punished the CEOs of major oil companies by dragging them to a Senate hearing and then telling them over and over that they were making too much profit? It’s true that some Republicans had pity on these poor CEOs and tried to ease the punishment by talking about the hefty subsidies Congress gave these oil companies recently. It did not help.

When Republicans got into power in 2000, they decided that Microsoft had been hounded by the Democrats with the big anti-trust action. Republicans claimed that Democrats were punishing success. No, they shouted, you should not punish success. And so, Microsoft was not punished.

So it's puzzling that Republicans today are punishing success. Yes, indeed, the oil industry is a huge success. The profit increase the following three big companies in the industry achieved over the last quarter, i.e. in the last 3 months, are:

Chevron Texaco....294%

British Petroleum......165%

Exxon Mobil.............125%

Exxon Mobil alone made $9.9 billion in the last 3 months. The Total profits for the industry from July to September was $25 billion!

And I do not need to tell you what happened to gasoline prices.

Majority Leader Bill Frist, a true Republican, somehow lost his bearings when he announced the hearings. Unbelievably, he said the hearings would expose

"those who abuse the free-enterprise system to advantage themselves and their businesses at the expense of all Americans."

What is wrong with Frist? $25 billion! That's a lot of success! Does he want to punish success? He must have gotten off his rocker.

I must say that Republicans did not behave too badly at the hearing. They didn't ask the CEOs to take an oath before testifying. That's more like it. Some of the Republicans at the hearing, feeling guilty that they were punishing these worthies, reminded the CEOs of what Congress had done for the oil industry in the recent energy bill. To which, Lee Raymond, chairman of Exxon Mobil, replied:

"That energy legislation is zero in terms of how it affects Exxon Mobil."

Senators and Representatives work so hard to help the successful, and they get no respect.

Not all Republicans have lost their way. A bunch of them wanted to reduce the budget deficit. So the question was, How to do it? Of course, they would not want to punish success. Instead they decided to punish failure. Only failures are on welfare and Medicaid and food stamps. They decided to cut them. Unfortunately, other Republicans have gone astray and are against punishing failures.

What a sad time for Republicans. Some want to punish success. Others do not want to punish failure.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 11, 2005 5:25 PM
Comments
Comment #92120

I don’t believe in punishing seccess. However, greed should be. What I’ve seen over the last few mounths from the oil companies is greed pure and simple. Of course it depends on what you call greed as to weather you’ll want to punish it or not. Making a profit isnot greed. Price gouging for extra profit on the same product is.
I find it funny though that Oil Compny CEOs got called on the carpet by the very people that need to be called in it in the worst way. The greed of the oil cpmpanies over the last 3 mounths cann’t hold a candle to the sheer irresponsibility of the government over the last 60 years.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 11, 2005 6:08 PM
Comment #92122

Oil is a cyclical business. It always has been. Even as we speak the price of gas is dropping like a stone. Today I passed a station that was selling at $1.99.

Check the five and ten year results for oil firms. Then you will understand that what you are saying is just silly.

It is like accusing a farmer of profiteering based only on his income in September and October. After all, if you compare his profit to the price of seed, he is clearly making too much money.

Please guys. Do yourselves a favor and don’t invest in stocks until you learn a little more about business. For that matter, don’t do any farming either.

Posted by: Jack at November 11, 2005 6:33 PM
Comment #92132

For that matter, don’t do any farming either.

To late Jack, I already own a farm. I also own two other businesses.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 11, 2005 7:05 PM
Comment #92135

Your right though about gas prices falling. However have you noticed that they don’t go down as fast as they go up?
This morning I was selling gas at my store for $2.219 per gallon. I just got a call from the clerk on duty. We’re supposed to lower the price 2 cents starting tomarrow. When the prices were going up we were raising the price 10-12 cents at a time everyday, and doing this twice a day sometimes. We’ve been droping it 2-5 cents at a time. And we’re doing it only every two to three days.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 11, 2005 7:15 PM
Comment #92141

Ron

Then you understand about the cycles. Of course people are more enthusiastic about raising prices than lowering them, just like you are more enthusiastic about paying lower prices than higher ones.

The consumers are not so pacive or powerless as the left implies. When prices went up, demand decreased and people started buying more efficient vehicles.

Gas is not a right. Almost everyone can drive less. There are lots of opportunities to consolidate trips or make other arrangements.

Ron - I know from your posts that you are not one of them, but it is everywhere you look. I am sick of all the cry babies who can’t seem to change their habits in the face of changed circumstances. To read some of these posts, people just have to pay whatever the oil companies want. People have no abiity to change, according to our lefty friends. Everybody is a victim.

Posted by: Jack at November 11, 2005 7:44 PM
Comment #92144

Here’s how you deal with “record” profits. Ride a bike, carpool, or take a bus. I save $40 a week by doing this. Mostly I ride my bike to the bus stop and ride to work or school for much less than pumping fossil fuels into my car. An added benefit is more physical activity resulting in better physical fitness and well being.
I understand that not everybody can do this. Not everybody is blessed with the type of great public transportation system that we have. Some folks have obligations that prevent them from being able to free themselves from the grasp of the comfort of their vehicles.
However, I feel better as I sit on the bus, watching Humvees and Suburbans cruise by, knowing I am not feeding the bloodsuckers.

Energy bill boondoggle anyone?

Posted by: MyPetGoat at November 11, 2005 8:09 PM
Comment #92147

Jack,

I was thinking about what you posted. My question for you would be this — is there ANY price they could set for oil under your theory that would be price gouging? $20/gallon of gas? $100?

My point is that, at some point, the price they set is beyond what is needed to compensate for the cyclical nature of their business. It sounds like you trust the price they set during and after Katrina was not in excess of what was necessary. From what I can gather, there are many who would disagree. But regardless, I think the real issue isn’t whether “lefty” folks are blind to economic realities — but that price gouging can occur even if economic realities are taken into consideration. Perhaps a better focus for our discussion would be whether the prices that were set were excessive in this context — or whether we can trust oil companies (or the oil market) to make this happen.

Posted by: Steve Westby at November 11, 2005 8:48 PM
Comment #92166

gvenbo:

So George Bush is reponsible for all of that? It looks like a lot of opinions. Can you come up with some facts to site your points? You come across like the Christian right only in reverse. Sorta like the left’s answer to Pat Robertson. It’s the tone without facts.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 11, 2005 9:41 PM
Comment #92182

Gwenbo:

Simple solution. Use cash. People don’t NEED to borrow money from credit card companies. Simply because something is offered doesn’t mean people have to accept it or use it.

You make people sound like whiny 5 year olds who don’t know that eating too much candy will eventually give them a tummy ache.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at November 11, 2005 10:26 PM
Comment #92185
Simple solution. Use cash.

Do that, and banks won’t even let you open a checking account. 0 FICO is the same as a bad FICO score.

Posted by: Taylor at November 11, 2005 10:31 PM
Comment #92191

Hey, stop bashing on Oil Executives. They are just taking advantage of being GOP Supporters. That’s no reason for insulting them. They are just following their Party’s principles.

Posted by: Aldous at November 11, 2005 10:40 PM
Comment #92192

Steve

Prices are interesting things. If you bought a home in 2000, there is a good chance it is worth twice as much today. When you sell that house, do you plan to sell it for a “fair” price? All you deserve is a 5% profit, right? If you sell something on EBay do you stop the bidding after it has reached what you originally paid for the item, less deprecation?

I don’t think it is possible to price gouge over an area as large as the U.S. As the price rises, people use less and they develop alternatives. The price of oil has a natural ceiling of around $65 a barrel under current technological conditions. That is a price where it becomes feasible to use oil sand. The prices are limited by the conditions of the market. As alternative technologies develop, they press down on the price of oil. This is a good thing.

The alternative to price is shortage. If it is possible to raise prices quickly it is because there is a perceived portending shortage. The price rises will prevent the potential shortage from becoming a real one.

In the absence of collusion or illegal activities, I don’t care if the price of gas goes to $20. I don’t think it is possible. As somebody says in the post above - ride a bike, take a bus, telecommute. I also don’t care if the price drops below a dollar.

The market worked much as it was supposed. I fast rise in prices prevented shortages by suppressing demand when supply was interrupted. When supply returned, prices dropped. They are now at pre-Katrina levels.

This was our experience in the 1970s. We tried price controls, windfall taxes and rationing. All we got were shortages. When we took off the controls, prices dropped because of the market forces.

Posted by: Jack at November 11, 2005 10:42 PM
Comment #92222

Oh spare us. why don’t you tell those damned elderly and sick americans should just quit their whining about the costs of the drugs too huh? Selfish bastards - don’t they realize that the only true americans are corporate chieftains and dividend earners. If you’re not one, then you must be a lazy prick or welfare cheat.

That fair rules of supply and demand guiding any of the energy markets instead of the distortions engendered by deregulation is a fantasy that should have died with Enron. Listening to Glaxo and Roche try to tell us that they’re such good corporate citizens while developing useless niche drugs and exploding their profits and marketing budgets at the expense of serious R&D is nauseating. Seeing the predatory credit card and mortgage industry practially enslave those who are financially vulnerable is just plain disgusting. Watching the media being conglomerated and reducing the amount of fair and full discourse available to the American public is dangerous to our democracy. It is not being anti-capitalist to expect honest corporate citizenship. Our country did just fine for over sixty years with modest regulation, fair wages and realistic renumeration to ceo’s and shareholders.

So just stop it - the rules of the game have been completely turned against the consumer by the republican led federal government with direct negative impact on our nation’s economic health. Have you folks no shame alternately denying and defending the corporate pillaging of America’s wealth? Enough is enough already. It’s all just so much crap. TR would kick your asses if he were here.

Posted by: roger at November 12, 2005 12:57 AM
Comment #92260

Greed and the Oil Companies
whats the problem with making all that money. we all know that its not the oil companies that set the price its the market. if your price is to low you become innudated with business and raise your prices. if your prices are to high you won’t be selling much and so lower your prices (or go out of business)so the invisible hand forces you to adjust prices until you reach equilibrium ( excuse me if i left out a few details like free competion, no monopolies, etc.)this administration beleives in capitalism and market as the solution to all our economic problems or challenges. so the oil companies were doing their thing, charging what the market would bear. isn’t that what they are supposed to do? what’s wrong with that, they are just being a good free market competitor.

unfettered capitalism. what a grear ideal.

of course we can then all be prepared to live in POTTERSVILLE.

Posted by: ec at November 12, 2005 8:16 AM
Comment #92313
Simple solution. Use cash. People don’t NEED to borrow money from credit card companies. Simply because something is offered doesn’t mean people have to accept it or use it.

We have a total of 5 credit cards. Visa, Master Card, Shell Oil, Phillips Oil, and Chevron Oil.
These cards don’t get used very often. But when we do use them we pay them off when we get the bill. Visa and Master Card can be handy to have in an emergency and you don’t have enough money to cover the cost at the time.
Oil company cards are handy for trips as you don’t have to carry a whole lot of cash.
But PAY THEM OFF AS SOON AS POSIBLE. The sooner the better. I don’t know about yaall but I figure the intrest saved by paying the total amount of the charges each month fits my pocket better than the card companies.
I read somewhere about 4 or 5 years ago that is you owe $5,000 and make the ‘easy minimum payment’ and dont charge anything else on the card it’ll take you around 20 years and $21,000 to pay it off.
I don’t know about you, but I can use that $16,000.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 12, 2005 12:38 PM
Comment #92363

The whining about oil prices goes on and on, of course it’s a Republican problem - the solution by the Sierra club was sun and wind, how about “Sail Cars”.
Let’s see - you don’t have to use credit cards, use cash - the Republicans have raised interest rates too high, anyone remember the Carter years.
Pharmaceuticals are too high - another problem caused by the Republican - has anyone heard pf frivalous law suits, if not ask John Edwards and the Dem lawyers.

Posted by: Fedupmike at November 12, 2005 4:50 PM
Comment #92382

I have a question that I’ve asked the oil company rep sereval times. He either cann’t or (most likely) won’t answer it. Maybe someone here can.
I’m currently selling gas at my store for $2.199. The store 5 miles away has the same brand of gas. They are currently selling gas for $2.179. The oil companies set the price that the stations charge.
Why is it that the price is different for the same gas at stations this close? I know that it doesn’t cost them anymore to deliver gas to me than to the other station.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 12, 2005 6:40 PM
Comment #92440

Um, which frivAlous (sic) lawsuit of John Edwards would you mean? Would that be the one where he sued the swimming pool company because his 9 (or so) year old client had her guts sucked out her anus in their intake valve? You know, the intake valve that had sucked the guts out of another child’s anus the year before and they knowingly continued to produce the product unchanged? Boy, isn’t he a heartless SOB.

If the Republican party would look up from their oral attachment to the Saudi nipple and ass once in a while, maybe they could help the Sierra club make America self-reliant on energy. Yeah, wouldn’t that suck?

Big pharma has big friends in Republican and Democratic party. We’re gonna take care of our own (you listening in Lieberman?) now you do your part in your party instead of trotting out silly responses that make you sound stupid.

Posted by: roger at November 13, 2005 12:55 AM
Comment #92497

Fedupmike
How about a few examples of those frivolous lawsuits, particularly those that were frivoulous, went to court, and settled iin court? your statement implies that the cost, high cost, of medications is a result of frivolous lawsuits. really?

Posted by: ec at November 13, 2005 11:18 AM
Comment #92527

Oh to be a CEO in this country. While the rest of America struggles to make minimum wage or in some cases slightly higher, and often times middle class America have no benifits from a job that they work at 50 weeks or more a year. They make millions of dollars a year and omg if they should happen to get fired they still make out like bandits with their severence packages, and thats after doing something so major like having stock prices fall or maybe imbezelling money from the country. Yet the normal everyday employee that gets terminated gets his last paycheck and nothing else. Oh and then there’s the price of gas, talk about a laugh, I myself am a server, I make 2.83 an hour plus my tips, how much money do you think I made when gas was over 3.00 a gallon? I live in an area where transportation is not an option, I live nowhere near a busline and even if I did the buses here only run till around 7pm, I sometimes don’t get off of work until after midnight. As to the few customers that was in the restaurant where I work because of the price of gas they tipped even less then they normally could being of the senior sect that is on a limited income. So who suffers when the price of everything goes up, not the CEO’s of the big companies who have millions at their disposal, it’s the middle and low income bracket that is lucky to see a million dollars earned in their lifetimes let alone in a single year.

Posted by: Sherri Michaels at November 13, 2005 1:32 PM
Comment #92530

Take a course in Economics - (Macro & Micro)
Then come back and post again…

If you want something different in America - Move to Europe…

Posted by: Discerner at November 13, 2005 1:37 PM
Comment #92531

Why is it that the left wants to punish success?

No one has answered the question. Accept to say that there is a point that there needs to be a mandatory re-distribution of wealth. Is that what Libs want?

Sounds scary to me, we do too much of it already.

Posted by: Cliff at November 13, 2005 1:41 PM
Comment #92563

The new bankruptcy laws will not help the working man and woman. Nor will it help the retired people of our nation. Most of the people affected will lose everything they have worked for their whole lives. It will destroy the small business as well, if they make under $200,000 dollars a year. Not to mention if he has any sort of problems combined with little or no sales. If you have an illness and no insurance, your financial future is bleak to say the least. What’s left but debtors prison or old people and children sleeping in the streets? Homeless and starving? The people of America need your help! The working men and women need you to help us out and to do the job you were supposed to do in the first place. It is after all ‘a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Over the State Median Income: The Means Test
The new means test is designed to force some debtor with
Income over the state median to file a repayment plan under
Chapter 13 instead of a full discharge under Chapter 7. First, you
Must apply strict expense caps intended for IRS tax collection
Cases. After these caps and other allowances have been applied to
Each expense category, the remaining income is added together to
Establish whether the client is able to make payment under
Chapter 13. BAPCPA ignores the fact debtors may not
Actually, have much of this money left over each month. Further
There is no exemption from the means test for debtors who fall in a
Chapter 13. These folks will apparently fall into a “no man’s land”
Where they will be ineligible for Chapter 7 due to the means test,
And unable to complete a Chapter13 because the payments are
not realistic.

Posted by: lewis blair at November 13, 2005 5:05 PM
Comment #92593

If the American government had been serving the interest of the American people for the last 75 years, no one would really give a fuck what the price of gasoline is and Americans sure as would not have been exposed to the part of the world that produces fanatics that fly airplanes into buildings.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at November 13, 2005 8:07 PM
Comment #92610

expat,

I think you’re on the wrong blog.

Posted by: Tom at November 13, 2005 10:43 PM
Comment #92669

Hey expat! Howdy neighbor. I’m right next door in Singapore. Being surrounded by 400 million Muslims sure gives you a different perspective, doesn’t it. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at November 14, 2005 8:52 AM
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