Thursday, February 1, 2007

Compare and Contrast

I'm typing this as I listen to Diane Rehm interview Republican pollster Frank Luntz about his new book. [It's taking a while, since I keep stopping to yell at the radio.] Quite frankly, I'm torn between being appalled at this gleefully manipulative individual, and a grudging admiration for his ability to make Niccolo Machiavelli look as selfless as Mother Teresa...

OK, on to the actual post:

A few weeks ago, Congress did the responsible thing (finally), and rolled back the $14.5 billion worth of tax-break goodies for the oil and gas corporations. No big surprise that Mike Rogers voted against it, giving full-throated warnings that taking away the subsidies will hurt U.S. national security:
"If you care about our children, stop sending the money to (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad and (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez," Rogers said.

Well, Mahmoud and Hugo must be sharing the wealth because today's NYT noted that Exxon Mobil made record profits in 2006:

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, reported profit of $10.3 billion in the fourth quarter. That represented a decline of 4.3 percent from its record profit in the fourth quarter of 2005 and was Exxon’s first quarterly decline in almost three years.

But for the year, Exxon’s profit rose 9 percent from 2005 results to a record of $39.5 billion, the largest annual profit ever for an American company.

Oil prices for the quarter ranged between $55 and $63 a barrel, averaging just shy of $60. That represented a 15 percent decline from the third quarter and was less than 1 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2005. Shell reported a profit $5.28 billion, a 21 percent rise from the fourth quarter of 2005. Shell’s annual income of $25.4 billion was also a record.

Production rose 4.1 percent to 3.65 million barrels of oil a day in the fourth quarter.

This gap between Rogers' grasp of global markets and economic reality was something my grandfather would have called "damnfoolery." A more elegant term might be cognitive dissonance. Wikipedia gives a pithy summary of this state, which on closer examination sounds an awful lot like the standard Republican response to policies they don't like:

This leads some people who feel dissonance to seek information that will reduce dissonance and avoid information that will increase dissonance. People who are involuntarily exposed to information that increases dissonance are likely to discount that information, either by ignoring it, misinterpreting it, or denying it.

Seems as though Mr. Rogers is in for some rather trying times.

1 comment:

Sally York said...

We all know that if the oil companies don't maximize their profits they play the punishment game. We in this country have been held hostage to the oil companies since the first well came in.

My family were wildcaters back at the beginning of the 1900's the stories they told about big oil even back then. They did the drilling, with tools they purchased. Tools were drills and pipes. After the well came in my grandpa said they barely made wages and cost. The only buyers at that time had a corner on the market.

100+ years later not much as changed except is is bigger and the ranson is higher.

Thank goodness the Congress is following a different path and we may even be able to take and force big oil to get off of the patiens they are holding that conserve oil.