For one year! Holy Robber Baron! That's an embarrassment of riches -- a jaw-dropping 40 percent leap over the previous year. No wonder they don't want us rabble to notice -- since that $36 billion was picked right out of our pockets by Exxon's gas pumps.
This rip-off is so politically explosive that Exxon Mobil even tried a preemptive PR campaign before releasing the profit number in hopes of dampening criticism. It organized slide shows for journalists and took out full-page ads to proclaim that, golly, its profit margins are actually lower than those of drug companies and banks. Come on, the drug kings and big bankers are notorious thieves! Is this comparison supposed to make us feel better?
The bottom line is that Exxon Mobil just hauled off the biggest profit in the history of corporate America, at a time that prices at their pumps continue to rise and when working families are already stretched to the breaking point.
Luckily, George W's on the job! Lucky for Exxon Mobil, that is. In his energy bill, passed last November, he included another $2 billion in tax breaks for oil giants that are wallowing in windfall profits. He also killed a provision that would've required a reduction in U.S. oil consumption by a million barrels a day by 2015. And when a Senate tax bill added a one-year tax increase of $5 billion on the largest oil corporations, Bush rushed to the defense of Exxon Mobil and others, promising to veto the bill.
Fifteen of America's largest environmental groups have organized a campaign to rein in Exxon's excess. To join the effort, go to & lt;a href="http://www.exxposeexxon.com" & ExxposeExxon.com & lt;/a & .
& lt;i & For more nuggets of wisdom from America's No. 1 populist, check out & lt;a href="http://www.jimhightower.com" & his website & lt;/a & & lt;/i & .