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Christian Science Monitor Letter on Greedy Oil Companies

In this November 16th, 2005, letter in the Christian Science Monitor I pointed out that, however greedy U.S. oil companies are, U.S. politicians are greedier:

In his Nov. 10 editorial cartoon, Clay Bennett shows an oil-company executive sitting smugly in front of charts showing that “audacity” and “temerity” are rising along with profits.

Is it audacious to risk billions of dollars annually to explore for oil? Is it temerity to enjoy high profits in some years, knowing that other years will bring losses?

The truly audacious (and greedy) ones are the politicians who demagogue this issue. After all, since 1980 oil companies have paid taxes of $2.2 trillion (in 2004 dollars) – an amount more than three times higher than the profits these companies earned during the same period.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics George Mason University
Fairfax, Va.