Friday, November 11, 2005

The Public Good Be Damned...


Relentlessly defending her standing as the dumbest woman in Washington, Senator Barbara Boxer (D. California) participated this week in a Congressional inquisition of Petroleum Executives as part of a special joint hearing regarding U.S. Oil production. The ultimate goal of this hearing was to set the ground work for a new 'windfall profits tax' imposed on the Petroleum industry to be collected from the average 10% profit margin the companies realize from every gallon of gas sold in the United States. As the transcript posted by the
Washington Post demonstrates, the churlish Senator has much to learn about Capitalism, and even more to learn about hypocrisy:

Boxer: Mr. Chairman, today's hearing in the mind of most of my constituents is about shared sacrifices in tough times versus big oil company greed.

And, gentlemen, to all of you, I hope I can give you a bit of a reality check. Working people struggle with high gas prices and your sacrifice, gentlemen, appears to be nothing.

And I want to get to a very simple thing that everyday people can understand, and that's oil executive bonus versus average U.S. salaries. I have a chart. And I don't go into all of you because some of you work for companies that don't have to file this information.

In 2004, Mr. Raymond, your bonus was over $3.6 million. This was on top of your salary of $3.2 million, and stock gains and other compensation of $19 million.

Mr. O'Reilly, your bonus was almost $4 million in addition to a salary of $1.5 million and stock gains and other compensation of $11.2 million.

Mr. Mulva, your bonus was a little over $4 million on top of your $1.5 million salary, and $2.7 million stock gains and other compensation.

Gentlemen, this compares to an average American who makes $23,276 per year. Each of your bonuses was more than 155 times greater than the typical American's yearly salary.

And compare your bonuses to a worker on minimum wage, which Congress hasn't raised in nine long years, that minimum wage workers makes $10,713 per year. Each of your bonuses -- forget the rest of it -- each of your bonuses was more than 300 times greater than a minimum wage worker's annual pay.

So let me just ask you a question here: Will you consider making a major personal contribution and major corporate contributions from record profits to a charitable fund set up, hopefully with your efforts and community effort, to help America's working families get relief from higher home heating oil prices or higher gas prices? Just a "yes" or a "no" if you would consider this.
Let us first note that it is not Mrs. Boxer's nor any other Congressman's business to know what any individual citizen of this country earns... wealthy or not. The Senator is not qualified to do what these executives do, nor as it seems, is she able even to comprehend the significance of their responsibilities to the interests they represent. She is a glorified manure hauler for the American people and nothing more. That being said, and since she feels it is within her right as a Senator to qualify a citizen's professional value, do let's look at Barbara Boxer's net worth as well as some of her colleagues in the Senate, and test their feigned concern for greed against the hypocrisy of their own conditions;

California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer do not need to count the days until their next congressional paycheck arrives. Feinstein and her husband, investment banker Richard C. Blum, are so wealthy that her annual financial disclosure statement filed Friday (June 11, 1999) runs 102 pages, 20 longer than last year. The couple reported assets in excess of $22 million. (At the time that Ms. Feinstein ran for governor of California, it was widely reported that she and her husband had a net worth around $50 million. WFI Editor) Boxer's handwritten five-page report listed a $1-million to $5-million blind trust held by herself and husband Stewart, an attorney. While they are financially better off than the average American, Boxer and Feinstein hardly stand out in a Senate full of millionaires, including Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.), owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, and a Rockefeller: John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.), who listed three blind trusts, one worth more than $50 million.

It would seem that Senator Boxer's net worth is over 200 times greater than the typical American's yearly salary.

Yet, pushing her hypocrisy aside for an instant, the point of her rant is to expose corporate greed on the part of 'Big Oil' said to be gouging the American public in times of crisis, like the recent disaster of Hurricane Katrina. So let's look at who is actually 'gouging' the American people in the sale of this precious commodity. The Tax Prof Blog points out that the main source of high gasoline prices isn't oil company profits. It is State and Federal governments, Mrs. Boxer. (HT. Powerline),
Who's Gouging?

The biggest beneficiaries of gasoline sales are federal and state governments, not the oil industry.

Federal and state taxes on gasoline production and imports have been climbing steadily since the late 1970s and now total roughly $58.4 billion. Due in part to substantial hikes in the federal gasoline excise tax in 1983, 1990, and 1993, annual tax revenues have continued to grow. Since 1977, governments collectedmore than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues—more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned bymajor U.S. oil companies during the same period. (emphasis added)
Do you understand that Mrs. Boxer? "Since 1977, governments collected more than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues—more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period.more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period." If you are incapable of comprehending the meaning of that analysis. Let me explain it for you? Who, Mrs. Boxer, is gouging the American people on the price of gasoline?

You are!

The American people owe these executives a profound apology for the folly they have been subjected to by the poultroons in the Senate. I don't expect the feckless Madam Boxer to repent for her consistently boorish behavior. But, I for one extend an open apology to these Men,

Lee Raymond, Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation
David O'Reilly , CEO, Chevron Corporation
James Mulva, Chairman and CEO, ConocoPhillips
Ross Pillari, President and CEO, BP America INC.
John Hofmeister, President and U.S. Country Chairman, Shell Oil Company

...for one of the most repugnant hearings I have heard in my own lifetime.

May I add simply... thank you Gentlemen, for what you do and for the service that you provide to this nation by helping to fuel and sustain the precious liberty afforded by Capitalism.

And next time you are brought before a similar hearing of aristocratic nitwits the likes of Mrs. Boxer, recall
the fictional trial of Henry Reardon, President of Reardon Steel, from Ayn Rand's famous novel Atlas Shrugged. His testimony before a similar chamber of clowns is as follows,

"No, I do not want my attitude to be misunderstood. I shall be glad to state it for the record. I am in full agreement with the facts of everything said about me in the newspapers - with the facts, but not with the evaluation. I work for nothing but my own profit - which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs; I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage - and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner. I am rich and I am proud of every penny I own. I made my money by my own effort, in free exchange and through the voluntary consent of every man I dealt with - voluntary consent of those who employed me when I started, the voluntary consent of those who work for me now, the voluntary consent of those who buy my product. I shall answer all the questions you are afraid to ask me openly. Do I wish to pay my workers more than their services are worth to me? I do not. Do I wish to sell my product for less than my customers are willing to pay me? I do not. Do I wish to sell it at a loss or give it away? I do not. If this is evil, do whatever you please about me, according to whatever standards you hold. These are mine. I am earning my own living, as every honest man must. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence and the fact that I must work in order to support it. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact that I am able to do it better than most people - the fact that my work is of greater value than the work of my neighbours and that more men are willing to pay me. I refuse to apologise for my ability - I refuse to apologise for my success - I refuse to apologise for my money. If this is evil, make the most of it. If this is what the public finds harmful to its interests, let the public destroy me. This is my code - and I will accept no other. I could say to you that I have done more good for my fellow men than you can ever hope to accomplish - but I will not say it, because I do not seek the good of others as a sanction for my right to exist, nor do I seek the good of others as a sanction for my right to exist, nor do I recognise the good of others as a justification for their seizure of my property or their destruction of my life. I will not say that the good of others was the purpose of my work - my own good was my purpose, and I despise the man who surrenders his. I could say to you that you do not serve the public good - that nobody's good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices - that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the right of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction. I could say to you that you will and can achieve nothing but universal devastation - as any looter must, when he runs out of victims. I could say it, but I won't. It is not your particular policy that I challenge, but your moral premise. If it were true that men could achieve their good by means of turning some men into sacrificial animals, and I were asked to immolate myself for the sake of creatures who wanted to survive at the price of my blood, if I were asked to serve the interests of society apart from, above and against my own - I would refuse. I would reject it as the most contemptible evil, I would fight it with every power I possess, I would fight the whole of mankind, if one minute were all I could last before I were murdered, I would fight in the full confidence of the justice of my battle and of a living being's right to exist. Let there be no misunderstanding about me. If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!"

Excerpt, Atlas Shrugged.

Thank you again, Gentlemen.

No comments: