Exxon Mobil Corporation recently reported record profits of $39 billion (that’s $39,000 million). The following day, Hillary Clinton was quoted saying, “I want to take those profits and put them into an alternative energy fund.” (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250060,00.html) This leads us to today’s topic: Whose money is it? From my perspective (in which I value hard work, capitalism and private property rights), the money belongs to the shareholders (i.e. the owners) of Exxon Mobil. From Hillary Clinton’s apparent perspective, she thinks the money belongs to her (or, if speaking from her official capacity, she thinks the money belongs to the government).
The arrogance and audacity (and potentially disasterous economic reprecussions) of Mrs. Clinton’s statement blows me away. Even before Exxon comes to their profit figure, the government has already had its hand in the company’s wallet. About a third of Exxon’s income is taken through taxes ($27 out of $67 billion), and that percentage holds true for all large corporations. And don’t think the government hasn’t had their hands in the consumers’ wallet either; 45 cents on every gallon of gas you buy is “taken” by the government in the form tax revenue (whereas oil companies only earn only about 10 cents of profit on a gallon of gas). So who is gauging who? If oil companies earned no profit, gas would be 10 cents less per gallon; if government “took” no taxes, gas would be 45 cents less per gallon.
My goal here is not to defend big oil companies, my goal is to defend capitalism and private property rights from greedy politicians. Today Mrs. Clinton is trying to “take” more of Exxon’s profit, tomorrow she will be after more of yours and mine. The more the government “takes” (taxes), the less incentive there is for businesses and individuals to produce. And when less is produced, the economy, and everyone’s pocketbook, is negatively impacted.