ELECT THE PEOPLE'S LAWYER: David Van Os, Democrat for Texas Attorney General

Monday, July 31, 2006

10.7 Billion Dollars and Rising

My challenge to the Big Oil Monopolies

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[audio post part 1]

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[audio post part two]

This very moment, millions of Texans are struggling to find ways to stretch their paychecks and retirement checks to cover $3 per gallon gasoline. This very moment, local governments all over Texas are struggling to balance budgets in the face of ever-rising fuel costs. This very moment, independent business owners all over Texas are struggling to keep their businesses afloat in light of the ever-increasing cost of fuel. This very moment, independent farmers and ranchers all over Texas are struggling to stay alive in the face of fuel costs that keep going up.

But some people are making out just fine. The reports of Big Oil's second-quarter 2006 earnings are out. Exxon-Mobil's net profit for the quarter is 10.7 billion dollars. Surprise, surprise - 3 billion dollars a month wasn't enough. But the price at the gasoline pump keeps going up to $3 per gallon and beyond at the same time that profits keep rising to these ever more unimaginable levels. This equation doesn't balance.

It is a fact of history and economics that the consolidation of great economic power into too few sets of hands inevitably results in the exercise of monopoly power and control. In the last several years the continuing mergers of giant oil companies have resulted in such consolidation to staggering degrees. We the people are witnessing the proof coming out in the pudding.

The oil company executives and their political lackeys want us to think that magical, mysterious market forces are in charge and nobody has any control over the situation. Yeah, right - Exxon-Mobil is a mere bystander to both its $3.5 billion-per-month profits and $3-per-gallon gasoline, and cries all the way to the bank. Don't we all know that the corporate executives wish they could rebate some of the profits back to the consumers, but that they are forced to gouge us against their wishes?

My fellow Texans, the Big Oil robber barons and their government mouthpieces want us to believe that we the people are helpless and powerless - but we are not!

In Texas we have always stood against monopoly power. Our Texas Constitution declares in Article 1, Section 26 - part of our Bill of Rights - that monopolies are contrary to the genius of free government and shall never be allowed. We were the second political jurisdiction in the world to enact an anti-trust statute – in the 1880s, a decade before the U.S. Congress passed federal anti-trust legislation. That first Texas anti-trust law was drafted by then-attorney general James Stephen Hogg, one of the great people's lawyers to occupy the office, who needed it and used it to challenge and beat the railroad barons on behalf of the people of Texas.

The creation of monopoly power does not create jobs. The last several years' worth of corporate consolidations in many industries have resulted in continuing losses of good jobs as the newly merged entities proceed to downsize their workforces. For example, over 9,000 jobs were lost when Exxon and Mobil merged to create Exxon-Mobil in 1999.

Monopolization smothers free enterprise by eliminating competition. Free enterprise, both for workers and for independent business owners, requires competition in order to survive and prosper. Confronting the robber barons over their monopolization of markets and industries by taking action to revive competition will revive lost jobs.

Already at least two state attorneys general, in Connecticut and California, are initiating challenges to the Big Oil companies under their states' anti-trust and consumer protection laws. Texas was way ahead of those two states historically in saying, "NO!" to monopoly power. Texas should not be bringing up the rear now. Texas should be taking its rightful place at the head of the column in confronting the robber barons.

Today's politicians accept the robber barons' excuses and double-talk without question, because today's politicians have been purchased by millions of dollars of protection money in the form of campaign contributions.

Tomorrow a change is coming. A new Texas Attorney General is coming to town, one who is not beholden to big money and who will fulfill his duty to represent the people. As Attorney General of Texas, one of my first actions after being sworn in next January will be to initiate anti-trust investigations of the Big Oil barons.

Big Oil, I'm coming after you.

posted by snarko! at 10:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your commentary on the exploitation of the people by corporate monopolies, and I agree that Big Oil is the most voracious of the wolves at the peoples' doors, but, as you point out, your opponents have lots of money and lots of players in the houses of government who facilitate their insatiable appetites for higher profits.

How can anybody hope to seriously influence a game already controlled by strong, well-financed opponents? Are there really enough political allies to be found for a coalition to mount a serious challenge?

There seems to be not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans; congressmen of both parties are feeding heavily at the sloshing corporate profit trough, and and government leaders at the very top are quarterbacking the corporate team.

I wish you well, believe me, and hope you have enough backing to make a difference. I have one vote, and you sound like somebody I can get behind. Good Luck

4:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear David,
Thank you for stating what's
needed. You've got my support

11:45 PM  

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