Written April 24, 2012     

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Who do you trust more?
Barack Obama
The oil companies

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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It's the oil companies, Obama says.

If only the oil companies paid their fair share. If only we stopped the tax breaks. If only we made them pay.

That was his topic over the weekend on his radio address.

Unfortunately, like almost everything out of his mouth, it was a lie.

Yes, a lie.

When you distort reality in order to deceive and manipulate people, that is a lie. And of late, the sad fact is that the president of the United States is a serial liar. There is almost no honesty in anything he says, and every speech is intended to provoke his followers to anger and to exploit their ignorance and prejudice for his political advantage.

He tells lies about the "haves" so that the "have nots" will get mad, so that they will feel aggrieved and entitled and so that they will rally to his cause. The worst megalomaniacs always need a scapegoat. Hitler had the Jews, Obama has the rich. The comparison is shocking, but apt. Hitler lied to unite his followers by focusing their hate. Obama lies to unite his followers by focusing their hate.

Take the oil companies, for example.

In the Obama world, we are supposed to hate the oil companies.

And the rich and Mitt Romney and corporations and anybody whose money you want.

But right now, it's the oil companies. Obama's mantra is that they must be made to pay their fair share.

So maybe we should look at it. Maybe we should review what the oil companies pay. Maybe we should see just how badly they're ripping us off.

Here are the numbers.

The three biggest oil companies in the United States are, in descending order, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Interestingly, the three largest taxpayers in the United States are, in descending order, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

They are not America's largest companies, but they are America's largest taxpayers. That's extra interesting because they do not operate under a particularly large margin. Unlike companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple – which typically maintain profit margins of some 30% -- oil companies in America have profit margins of roughly 5 to 8%.

But they pay taxes through the nose.

Here are the numbers.

The largest taxpayer in America – Exxon Mobil – paid $27.3 billion in federal taxes last year, for an effective tax rate of 42%.

That’s the chief company Barack Obama accuses of not paying its share. Which is interesting, because Exxon Mobil paid an effective tax rate more than twice as high as the rate Barack Obama paid.

His recent taxes showed he was taxed at an effective rate of 20.5%.

And he’s one of the 1 percent.

Second biggest taxpayer last year, kicking in some $17.4 billion to the federal Treasury, was Chevron, which paid an effective tax rate of 43.3% And rounding out the top three, Conoco Phillips, which kicked in $10.6 billion, for an effective tax rate of 45.6 percent.

That’s essentially the rate paid by Warren Buffet and his secretary – combined.

Yet these three biggest taxpayers in America are being vilified by the president as not doing their part. Over and over, he says they aren’t paying their fair share, and that they are the beneficiaries of special tax breaks.

Let’s look at those.

If you took all the tax breaks on the books for the oil industry, and you added up all the deductions that would allow all the oil companies in America – not just the top three – and then multiplied that by 10, to see what the entire industry takes in deductions over a decade, you end up with about $25 billion.

A decade’s worth of deductions for the entire industry is less than a single year’s tax for a single oil company – Exxon Mobil.

So those tax breaks aren’t much of a break.

They are a ruse.

A small percentage on the edge that the president harps on while ignoring the massive percentage in the middle.

America has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. The American oil industry pays the highest corporate taxes in America.

And yet Obama says they don’t pay enough.

Even though the federal taxes collected from oil companies and the purchasers of their products are larger than the profits of the oil companies. The government Obama leads takes more money from the oil industry than the oil companies do.

And still he vilifies the oil companies.

Because he is a liar.

Because he exploits his followers’ ignorance and envy to maintain his grip on power.

Like most dictators of the past.

Here’s all I know for sure. The oil companies have done a lot more for me and my country than Barack Obama has.

And the oil companies pay a lot more in taxes – in both dollars and percentages – than anybody else in this country.

And that every dime the Treasury takes from them, I paid at the pump.

So when Obama says the oil companies must pay more, he’s really saying we must pay more.

Which comes as no surprise.

Because that’s what he always says.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012

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