Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) : Exxon needs government subsidies to avoid going out of business
Check out this interview of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) — he of apologizing to BP fame — by ABC on Wednesday. Pressed repeatedly by Jon Karl to stake out a position on tax credits enjoyed by offshore oil companies, Barton argued that the subsidies represent equal treatment, and are required to keep the companies like Exxon-Mobil from going out of business.
“Over time if you put so many disincentives against any U.S. manufacturing or production company, or oil and gas exploration company, they’ll go out of business,” Barton said.
Barton, perhaps the oil and gas industry’s staunchest support on Capitol Hill, says the subsidies for the industry should remain unchanged “so long as you believe that you believe in the free market capitalist system and they should be headquartered in the United States.”
Exxon Mobil’s profits fell by more than half to $19.3 billion in 2009, the lowest total in seven years - but the oil giant remains the nation’s profit leader.
Exxon finished last year with a 23% decline in fourth-quarter results and has now posted lower profits for five straight quarters after setting a record of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008.
The results for the world’s largest publicly traded oil company have swung with the price of crude and the impact of the global recession.
When oil spiked above $147 a barrel in mid-2008, Exxon set ever-higher marks for profits by a U.S. company. Then oil prices plummeted, and Exxon suffered a year-long hangover that included its smallest quarterly earnings in several years.
Exxon posted profits of $6.1 billion in the last quarter vs. $7.8 billion in the year-ago period. Revenues increased 6% to $89.8 billion.
Last year’s results followed a record-breaking 2008, when Exxon recorded the highest profit ever for a U.S. company - $45.2 billion. Still, Exxon will remain the highest-earning company in the S&P 500 index, a rank it’s held since 2000 after its acquisition of Mobil.
By comparison, Walmart is expected to post annual profits of $14 billion, while Microsoft had net income of $14.6 billion.
Say ain’t so Joe.