While blowhard ignoramuses like Bill O’Reilly lament the profits “Big Oil” brings in, no one ever mentions the amount of loot these companies have confiscated from them by the federal government. Forbes wants to change that. They are championing ExxonMobil as “Taxation Heroes” for the obscene amount of profits Washington, DC is making off their work.
For every dollar the company makes in profit, they pay the government three:
In a recent book, New America Foundation’s Steve Coll suggests there’s something almost unpatriotic with the profits earned by America’s energy companies. For example, in the last sentence of his book he contrasts the fortunes of the energy giant ExxonMobil with that of the United States.
“From the day of the Mobil merger closing [in 1999] until the day of the S&P downgrade [of U.S. debt], the net cash flow of the United States—receipts minus expenditures—was approximately negative $5.7 trillion. ExxonMobil’s net cash flow from operations and asset sales during the same period was a positive $493 billion.”
Now, perhaps it’s an interesting intellectual exercise to compare receipts and expenditures of a government with that of a private enterprise. But additional data overlooked by Coll, CAP, and other critics of America’s energy majors can help round out the picture a bit.
Economist Mark Perry has developed something of a cottage industry examining how much individual firms and industries pay in taxes anytime someone in the White House or on Capitol Hill insists a company or industry pay “its fair share.” I asked him if he could determine ExxonMobil’s tax bill over the period of time Coll discusses. Perry sent me the following:
That’s right, since its emergence as a unified company, ExxonMobil has paid governments around the world more than $1 trillion. That’s more than double its net cash flow over the same period and almost three times its profits of $352 billion.
Imagine what the cost of gasoline would be if you didn’t have to pay those taxes. Oh yeah, that’s right. You paid those taxes. Businesses pass the cost on down the line.
Because this data isn’t as well known as it should be, and because I know it will raise the hackles on the backs of liberal’s necks, I made a little graphic for your Facebook page. Feel free to cut and paste this, or to pin it on Pinterest: