The best editorial of the weekend: Time to go after the oil company profiteers

By: - March 21, 2022 5:30 am
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the lead Sunday editorial from the Greensboro News & Record / Winston Salem Journal twins. It bears the simple title “More pain at the pump,” but the essay features a compelling assessment of that problem (i.e. high gas prices) and the parties and forces on who bear the lion’s share of responsibility.

As the multiple news reports have made clear of late in light of the refusal of major energy companies to expand drilling despite the widespread authority they enjoy to do so, it’s increasingly clear that Republican attempts to somehow place the blame on the Biden administration are utterly without merit.

This is from the editorial (which terms the attack on Biden a “Zombie lie” and rightfully points to the greed and market forces that are the real problem):

The oil conglomerates that operate in the U.S. — ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell — all reported record-breaking profits before Russia invaded Ukraine — some $205 billion in 2021 alone, according to a recent report from Accountable.US.

On top of that, they each receive massive, multi-million-dollar subsidies from the federal government.

Talk about freeloaders.

On Monday morning, any oil corporate head could decree that the price of their product will immediately be reduced by a dollar a gallon. It would be a patriotic display of concern in a time of hardship. They would still make obscene profits.

But that’s not very likely.

The editorial is right in placing blame on greedy oil company execs and right to call for a response from Washington:

But there is something that Congress could do. It could halt the subsidies. Even temporarily, just until we get through this crisis. This is taxpayer money going to wealthy corporations so they can charge us higher prices for their goods. Cut them off.

Any senator or representative could file a bill calling for the halt of oil company subsidies until this crisis has passed — or until oil companies lower the price of their product.

That’s not very likely to happen, of course; both Republicans and Democrats have become cozy with oil companies thanks to generous political donations. That’s a supply they’d hesitate to put at risk.

As the editorial rightfully notes in conclusion, the Biden administration is not perfect, but the notion that the president is somehow responsible for high gas prices is simply bogus. Here’s the on-the-money conclusion.

Solutions to high gas prices exist. The political will to pursue them doesn’t. Nevertheless, the next time you fill up the tank, don’t bother saying, “Thanks, Joe.” Instead, say, “Here you go, oil exec — my contribution to your new yacht.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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Rob Schofield
Rob Schofield

NC Newsline Editor Rob Schofield oversees day-to-day newsroom operations, authors regular commentaries, and hosts a weekly radio show/podcast.