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Democrats doth protesteth too much about oil

By Thomas Lindaman
web posted April 24, 2006

It's spring, and America's attentions turn to that beloved of all sports, bashing Big Business for one thing or another. This time, Exxon Mobil is in the crosshairs for two reasons. One, they recorded record profits last year in the midst of rising oil costs. Two, former Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond retired, getting a $400 million retirement package.

And it was only a matter of time before Democrats tried to jump on this situation for political gain. Senator Byron Dorgan blasted the company, seeking justification for Raymond's retirement package and calling for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to expose what Dorgan says "appears to shortchange" shareholders. Dorgan said, "There can be no more compelling evidence that the price gouging and market manipulation which has produced record oil prices is out of control, and is working to serve the forces of individual greed and corporate gluttony at the painful expense of millions of American consumers."

Does anyone else find Dorgan's comments more than a little hypocritical, considering the type of retirement packages members of Congress get?

If that wasn't odd enough, try this on for size. Fifteen Democrat members of the Senate, including Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Joe Lieberman, attacked the President for high gas prices and called on him to have a "national energy summit" with them to discuss reining in oil prices and anti-price gouging legislation. I'm surprised they didn't include Al Gore in on this, given his vast experience in making an utter fool of himself on environmental issues, but I digress.

In a letter to President Bush, these Democrats wrote, "In the absence of leadership or cooperation from your administration, we will soon be moving ahead with our own set of real solutions, which will spur the kind of innovation and investment America needs to secure its energy future for the 21st century." Their solutions are rumored to include aggressive programs to develop biofuels, alternative fuels, and other innovations designed to save energy.

In other words, exactly what George W. Bush has already proposed and advanced.

With these two oil-related situations, it's clear to me that Democrats aren't looking at the oil problems with any knowledge of the circumstances behind the situations. Let me try to explain it briefly so that I don't bore those of you who get it and so that those of you who don't get it will have a better shot at it.

Oil is a product, also called a commodity. In order for this commodity to be used, it must be refined since oil doesn't come out of the ground as gasoline yet. However, we lack the capacity to refine as much oil as we're importing. This creates a situation where there is more demand for the commodity than there is supply. That drives up costs. What's more, there are other countries, including China, who are moving into the market and buying up barrels of oil. This decreases supply, which also
drives up costs. With both of these factors at work, oil prices are rising and will continue to rise.

This is where those evil oil companies come into play. Since they have the ability to make oil usable, they make money based on buying and selling of oil. Since oil prices are high, that means the companies have the potential to make more money. Doesn't guarantee they will, but it does make the potential that much more likely. When business is good, stock prices go up, and so does the profits of those who have shares of stock. And who tends to have retirement plans that include stocks? Why,
that would be CEOs and other corporate bigwigs. Is it wrong or illegal? Nope. Does it prove Exxon Mobil is guilty of price gouging? Nope.

So, the only question remaining is why we should listen to Democrats when it comes to oil-related matters.

You got me. I'm just a columnist.

Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.

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