Big Oil, Big Target

Well, I guess this will just reinforce that "let 'em eat cake" reputation that I'm developing for defending the oil companies (search).

Trust me, I am not an oil company apologist — they are making some mind-boggling profits.

But the difference between me and some born again consumer populists — including many Republicans on Capitol Hill (search) — is that I'm not into witch-hunts and I'm not into finding scapegoats.

The oil companies make an easy target, now that they're making money. I just don't remember hearing the alarm when they weren't making money or seeing a single tear shed for thousands laid off when oil prices were a fraction what they are now.

I don't remember anyone saying, "save the oil companies!" No, today the politicians' message is more like, "Save our sorry asses!"

Much is said of the staggering sums oil companies are making now. Not a word about the staggering costs involved in getting oil to the market now.

Much is said about profits that seem out of line. But nothing about the fact they're averaging about 10 cents on the sales dollar — way below most companies' bottom line.

No, I've heard a lot about gouging — not a word about conserving.

A lot about price rigging — nary a line about oil exploring.

Lots of problems with big oil — not a word about big OPEC (search).

No, it's bait and switch — not supply and demand.

Few in Washington have the time to look at facts. Largely because few in Washington have the guts to look at something else: a mirror.

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