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Sierra Club
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
RAW: Uncooked Truth, Beyond Belief 

Issue #263
August 1, 2008
John McCain, Big Oil's Bestie
Josh Dorner

Yesterday ExxonMobil reported the largest quarterly profit in the history of American capitalism: a stunning $11,680,000,000.  Trailing behind Exxon were Shell -- $11,560,000,000; BP -- $9,470,000,000; Chevron -- $5,980,000,000, and CononoPhillips with a paltry $5,400,000,000. This bounty far outstripped last year's already record haul and puts Big Oil on track to pull down about $160,000,000,000 in profits this year.

(Though ExxonMobil edged its own previous record, it failed to meet analysts' expectations and its shares dipped. It was, however, very quick to point out that its profits would’ve been over $12 billion had it not had to take a charge to pay that $500 million to those pesky victims of the ExxonValdez disaster.)

But it costs so much to explore for oil these days you say! Turns out spending on exploration has remained flat since the early '90s -- a mid-single digit percentage of profits.

But the oil companies are running ads saying that they're moving 'beyond petroleum,' (pdf) which means it must be so you say!  Turns out that ExxonMobil spent a mere a 1 percent of its record profits on alternative energy, while self-proclaimed alternative energy star BP spent the most of any company -- a still underwhelming 2.9 percent of its profits.

Turns out that Big Oil is reinvesting much of its cash (some 55 percent today, up from just 1 percent in 1993) in buying back its own stock and paying dividends to further enrich its shareholders. (That would include executives who hold or have options on millions of shares and who generally receive millions in bonuses based on stock performance.) 

So, after hitting a real gusher of campaign cash from Big Oil, what does John McCain propose to do about high gas prices and obscene oil company profits?  Why, he wants to give Big Oil a Texas-sized tax cut (pdf) to the tune of some $4,000,000,000 a year.

(Check out the TV ad Sierra Club launched yesterday in key battleground states.) 

Barack Obama? He wants to give Americans $1,000 in real relief to get us through today's crisis, end the billions in existing government giveaways to Big Oil that John McCain has refused to cut off, and then make sure Big Oil is paying its fair share on its record profits. Oh yeah, and he'll invest $150 billion in clean, renewable energy to solve our problems in the long-term.

So, do we want a president who thinks a company making more than $1,000 a second in profits needs tax relief, or do we want a president who wants to give $1,000 to hardworking Americans to relieve their pain at the pump?

Seems like America literally cannot afford more of the McSame old thing on energy. 

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Paid for by the Sierra Club Political Committee, http://www.sierraclub.org/, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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