Seven Oil Industry Sins

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CommonDreams.org

Seven Oil Industry Sins

The oil and gas industry pays its fair share in taxes. --Chevron CEO John Watson 

US Uncut Chicago has compiled the U.S. and foreign income tax payments of major corporations and industries over the past three years. By far the greatest disparity exists in the oil industry, which paid 4.4% to the U.S. government and 41.1% to foreign governments. 

To put it another way, the oil industry paid ten times more in taxes to foreign governments than to the US government. ExxonMobil, which reported 2/5 of its worldwide oil properties in the U.S., paid just 2% of its profits in federal income taxes while paying 40% of its profits to other countries (ExxonMobil 10-K, Review of Principal Ongoing Activities). 

This ENVY of foreign tax rates is one of the seven deadly sins of the oil industry. The others: 

GREED: Record profits and billions of dollars in subsidies and CEO salaries, but gas prices keep going up. 

GLUTTONY: The Wall Street Journal reports that the big five oil firms are holding $70 billion in cash, and are spending money mainly on dividends and stock buybacks. 

PRIDE: "Taking on the world's toughest energy challenges." (Exxon slogan) 

SLOTH: Not taking on the alternative energy challenge. Even worse than inaction is Exxon's ongoing attempts, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, to discredit reputable scientific findings on global warming. 

LUST: Coveting American research, infrastructure, and national security while paying little in return. 

ANGER: ..any claim we don't pay taxes is absurd...ExxonMobil is a leading U.S. taxpayer. (an Exxon spokesperson)...Because my time is limited, I want to make three points today. First, the oil and gas industry pays its fair share in taxes. (Chevron CEO John Watson) 

The 90 non-oil companies studied by US Uncut Chicago were no bargain either, paying about 14% in U.S. income tax and 10% in foreign income taxes. But when it comes to disrespect for the American public, it appears that the oil companies, and especially industry leader Exxon, have no equal.

Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

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