Greed and Gas Prices

Greed is not good. Gas prices are now crippling the economy. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

Another terrible day on Wall Street. The Dow closed down 358 points, and most Americans are getting hurt badly. Most Americans are getting hurt, but not the oil company CEOs.

Say hello to John Hess. He made $47 million last year. The CEO of Chevron, David O'Reilly, doesn't look like me, pulled in $35 million. Ray Irani of Occidental, $55 million. This year, Ray and his friends in the oil industry should make even more because profits are up. Way, way up.

Now I believe in capitalism. It offers the most people the most opportunity. Capitalism operates on competition. You succeed in a free marketplace, you can become wealthy. But sometimes the machine breaks down.

"Talking Points" believes the growing greed in the oil industry has finally caught us and is greatly damaging America. No matter what the system, it can be abused. Teddy Roosevelt was a capitalist, but he attacked some large companies that were hurting the folks. He was nicknamed the "Trust-Buster."

Now the huge oil price rise is causing chaos within the U.S. economy, and everybody's blaming everybody else. If you listen to the oil companies, it's the environmentalists. If you listen to the greens, it's the oil companies. If you listen to OPEC, it's the speculators. And if you listen to the speculators, not their fault. They're just legitimate investors.

But if you break it all down, ladies and gentlemen, if you throw the BS out the window, the fact is that oil companies are making more money than any other concern in the history of civilization. They have imposed real life on the movies.


MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked upward surge of mankind.


Now do you feel an upward surge when you fill up your gas tank? The recession is here, and it's driven by an irresponsible banking industry which peddled weak mortgages and an oil industry that exploits every opportunity to raise prices. And weak politicians will not regulate, even if national security's involved.

It's not supply and demand when just five U.S. oil companies control product distribution, and OPEC keeps the supply down in order to keep the world markets on edge. Remember, it costs Saudi Arabia less than $2 a barrel to bring oil to the market. That same barrel today cost $140.

The question is where will it end? How bad will things get economically? Nobody knows. What I do know is that the oil company CEOs are going to have another very good year.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

While singing in Washington State, Tim McGraw says he noticed a fan giving a lady a hard time. So McGraw, in the middle of singing "Indian Outlaw," dragged the guy on stage and other security guys whisked him away.

The band never stopped playing. Look at McGraw. He might punch him. OK. Get him out of here.

So from what we saw, protecting a lady's honor, Tim McGraw is a patriot.

On the pinhead front, our pal Al Sharpton was booked on Greta's show Tuesday night, but he didn't show up. Instead he went on CNN. Sharpton says the Obama campaign told him to do that.

So the reverend is a pinhead. And Greta, of course, won her time slot at 10 p.m. So hey, Reverend, you want to be seen, you come here.