BIG OIL'S UN-AMERICAN SELFISHNESS

The big five of Big Oil might want to mull over a bit of advice that baseball great Ted Williams once offered to rookies: "If you don't think too good, don't think too much."

The big five of Big Oil might want to mull over a bit of advice that baseball great Ted Williams once offered to rookies: “If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.”

Apparently, the chieftains of BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell thought that a bit of gruff, CEO bluster would be just the thing to brush back public anger over the industry’s all-star avarice and arrogance. Bad thinking.

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Last week, the head of these multibillion-dollar behemoths, pumped up on narcissism, strode into a U.S. Senate hearing room and took wild swings at a bill titled: “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes.” In a time of $4-a-gallon gasoline, stratospheric rises in petro profits, and a federal budget deficit severe enough that Republicans have called for killing Medicare, the spark that exploded the public’s fury at oil giants was the revelation that the big five are on the government dole, drawing more than $2 billion a year in corporate welfare payments.

Exxon’s top exec flailed at the bill, absurdly labeling it “discriminatory.” Next up was Shell’s man, who feigned almost-comic outrage at the notion that our nation’s budget deficit should be reduced “by taking more from the few,” as though he was unaware that “the few” in question are notorious tax dodgers, paying little or nothing on their enormous profits. Wildest of all though was Conoco’s chief, Jim Mulva, who inflamed senators and insulted the public by calling the bill “un-American.”

No, Mr. Mulva, what’s un-American is that you five clueless CEOs expect to haul in $100 billion in profits this year, yet you’re whining that you should be given $2 billion in special tax breaks, even as little kids are being cut-off from Head Start and the GOP threatens to take Medicare away from Grandma. Start thinking about someone besides your sorry selves.

“The Showdown Over Big Oil,” www.thinkprogress.org, May 5, 2011.

“Big Oil execs hit back on tax proposal,” www.cnn.com, May 12, 2011.

“Big ‘Un-American’ Oil,” Austin American Statesman, May 15, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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