Thursday, February 02, 2006

Denny: Record Gas Prices/Profits are merely a P.R. Problem

The boys and girls at ThinkProgress have taken a look at Denny Hastert's pow-wow with Big Oil. And it turns out that the problem isn't $3.oo/gallon gas or 10 billion dollar wind-fall profits.

Nope, Denny's office says its the lack of pro-petrolium propaganda:
House Speaker Dennis Hastert held a conference call yesterday with the oil industry’s top trade association, one day after Exxon posted a record $10 billion quarterly profit, mostly thanks to high gas prices. According to his spokesman, Hastert pressed executives on lowering energy costs:

Hastert inquired about industry efforts “to create a stable supply of energy that will lower oil and home heating costs,” Hastert’s spokesman said. “What he wanted to convey to the [trade association] is making a profit is just fine … at the same time, though, American families have a bottom line to meet.”

The call, which lasted all of 10 minutes, probably didn’t make much headway. Here was Hastert’s big idea:

Hastert reiterated a request he made to ExxonMobil last year to take some profit “and use it to communicate to the American public about what [oil companies] are doing,” his spokesman said.

In other words, the solution to Americans’ anger over high gas prices is not to actually lower prices, but to get oil companies to spread more propaganda about why high prices are “just the marketplace at work.”

"Communicate to the American public about what oil companies are doing"?

Well, since what they're doing is screwing you at the pump, communicating "what oil companies are doing" is an unlikely use of the petrol industry's record profits.

And have you ever noticed how Republicans are always willing to "just let the marketplace work" when it comes to retail gasoline pricing?

But when the production end of the oil industry faces some market costs, e.g. Katrina, middle east instablity, those costs are always passed on to the tax payers.

Internalize the profits and externalize the costs. Those one-way market solutions are a hell of a thing.

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