Biden says oil firms make ‘more money than God’ — Analysis
While Biden blames corporate greed for high gas prices, Exxon says it’s doing its best to meet demand
Joe Biden, President of the United States took aim at Exxon Friday. He accused Exxon of making “unfair” claims. “more money than God”Americans pay more for gas than they do. However, Exxon says it’s scaling up production, while conservatives blame the high gas prices on Biden’s own policies.
Speaking at the Port of Los Angeles, Biden found a number of scapegoats for America’s record high gas prices and 40-year high inflation rate, including the shipping industry and Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also blaming supply-chain backlogs.
Biden criticized Exxon’s stock buybacks, rather than increasing its drilling activity in relation to gas prices.
“Exxon made more money than God this year,”Reporters were informed by him. “One thing I want to say about the oil companies…they’re not drilling, because they make more money not producing more oil.”
“Number two, the reason they’re not drilling is they are buying back their own stock, which should be taxed quite frankly,”He went on. “Exxon, start investing and start paying your taxes, thanks.”
Exxon spoke to Forbes later on Friday. He said that Exxon actually increased its drilling operations in Texas’ Permian basin by 70% in 2019 and 2021. The company is also spending 50% more in order to improve the refining capabilities in this area in 2022, as opposed 2021. Exxon reported that it had suffered a loss of more than $20B in 2020. It also paid $40.6B in taxes for 2021. That’s an $17.8 billion increase over 2020.
With inflation, gas prices, and economic concerns in general the top three issues for American voters, a recent ABC News poll found that 71% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s efforts to curb rising prices, and 72% are dissatisfied with his attempts to bring down gas prices in particular.
Biden, in addition to blaming Exxon and other companies, has repeated the phrase “Putin’s price hike” in a bid to blame the Russian leader and Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine for the spike in living costs in the US.
The US inflation rate, however, has increased sharply since Biden was elected to office in January. It rose from 1.4% per month in December 2020, to 7% by December 2021. This occurred two months prior the Russian forces entered Ukraine. The average price of gas rose to $2.28 per gallon from December 2020, and then to $3.40 one year later.
Biden’s conservative critics say the president’s liberal spending policies have driven up inflation, while his green energy policies – including bans on new drilling leases and a shutdown of the Canada-US Keystone XL pipeline during his first week in office – have stymied the American energy industry. Furthermore, his decision to embargo Russian oil and gas imports have also restricted the US’ fuel supply.
Biden’s own treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, has denied that corporate greed is responsible for the US’ current economic woes. Yellen blamed inflation on the forces of inflation at an event hosted Thursday by The New York Times “demand and supply.”
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