June 20, 2008



Exxon sucking up profits and subsidies
by Jim Hightower

Time for another Gooberhead Award — presented periodically to those in the news who have their tongues going 100-miles-an-hour, but forgot to put their brains in gear.

Today’s Goober goes to Rex Tillerson, one of the only people in America who actually enjoy paying $4 a gallon at the gas pump. He’s not nuts, he’s the CEO of Exxon Mobil. With annual pay above $16 million, a $100 fill up for his limousine is hardly a burden on him. Also, Rex loves gas pumps, for he knows that everyone who pulls up to one magically has money sucked right out of their pockets and sent to Exxon’s pockets. Lots of money — the oil giant sucked up $40 billion in profits last year alone.

But it’s not all blue skies in Tillerson’s world. He sees the dark clouds of climate change looming over him, as millions of Americans demand that refiners like Exxon Mobil stop mucking up the planet with their greenhouse gas emissions. Also, some pesky shareholders are pressuring him to make the corporation less oily by shifting more of its investments into renewable fuels.

He could just ignore these reformers, but — good gollies! — they include nearly all of the living descendents of old John D. Rockefeller, the robber baron who founded Exxon. At the corporation’s recent annual meeting, Tillerson tried to kiss them off by asserting that alternative energy sources are not worth investing in because “they require government subsidies” to be profitable.

Subsidies? Hey, gooberhead, Exxon Mobil floats on a sea of subsidies, having taken billions in direct payments, tax breaks, rigged regulatory rules, military assistance and other gimmies. Ironically, even as Tillerson now disses the fledgling renewable industry, he is backing John McCain’s push to give another $4 billion tax break to the five biggest oil corporations.

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