Exxon Mobil yesterday reported profits from 2005 of over USD 36 billion, the largest annual profit ever reported by a US company. There are calls for a windfall profits tax, but critics of such a tax say that it isn't fair, that their profits are not that large a percentage of their revenues, and that they're profiting from wise investments made in leaner times.
I could accept those arguments if they were not accompanied by record consumer fuel prices, which have risen shockingly. According to a CBS News article on mass transit use:
Average gas prices rose all summer after breaking $2 a gallon in late March, soaring to $3.07 during the week of Sept. 5, the aftermath of Katrina....and, referring to the period from July to September:
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.55 during those months, up from $1.85 a year before....which is almost a 38% rise. If companies such as Exxon Mobil needed to raise prices that much in order to return a nominal profit, we consumers could understand it. But after being knocked down by the soaring prices, it is particularly galling to then be kicked by a profit announcement like this.