I've warned you before, McBare. You are on thin ice discussing taxation. Do your homework and tell us which taxes President Bush and Congress cut: personal income, corporate income, capital gains, inheritance taxes, excise taxes, AMT taxes or the various credits for such things as Solar, ITC, R&D,etc. You guys griping about "Big Oil" couldn't do what it takes to deliver a drop of fuel if it were a brown spot on your hand. I think we are fortunate to have companies that have such phenomenal expertise and sophistication; Glenn Beck has it just right.
There's an ad playing in this radio market (I believe from the Petroleum Institute???) that asserts 41% of us hold oil and gas company stocks in our portfolios. If that's true, you better damn well hope those companies make a profit.
There was a time when big oil actually had "such phenomenal expertise and sophistication" but I think you should take a good look at those companies today. Not too long ago they owned their own technical support and engineering services organizations, from basic R&D through interfacing with the consumer operations. Not today.
Nearly all of the basic mechanical, civil, electrical and environmental engineering skills that were the source of corporate pride in the past are outsourced today. Any operation with perceived risk is outsourced. The actual skills being retained are financial and business administration skills - everything else is either rented or licensed, including facilities and plant design technology. Because the MBA school guy running things, with no field experience or direct knowledge of the systems involved, has found it makes more money and lowers risk if there is a disaster. So, there was a time when your adoration of these companies might have been warranted. When you speak of them today, they are no longer the capable organizations they once were - much like the nuclear industry, they have atrophied to a point where they are hollowed out shells of their former selves. Unlike the nuclear industry, they are presently making more money than at any time in their histories.
Of all the oil companies, I think ExxonMobil has actually applied some lessons learned to the concept of safety in all phases of operations in which they are a player. But that does not erase the responsibility for the damages they inflicted with the oil spill in Alaska. Jim