Evil Oil Corporations or Responsible Corporate Citizens? | RefinerLink

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Evil Oil Corporations or Responsible Corporate Citizens?

By Steve Pagani

Oct 07, 2012

There are many forgotten contributions that oil companies deliver. When factoring all of the pros and cons, can you consciously say that oil companies are purely evil?                   


In the first Presidential Debate of 2012 many of you may have noticed that ExxonMobil and other oil and gas companies got a special shout out. President Obama criticized the large subsidies that these companies receive.


Oil and Gas companies have always held a special place in modern day politics. They’re the easy ones to take a shot at. After all, they make plenty of money and are typically only noticed when there’s some sort of large disaster.



It’s hard to disagree if you’re a casual observer but if you dig a little deeper you might be surprised by what you find. These “special” subsides aren’t really that special. They’re actually deductions available to almost every American manufacturer… even those making vacuum cleaners or office furniture.


Ok then, forget the “subsidies” and let’s move on. Many may still think that these giant corporations aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. Well in 2011 ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips paid a combined $55 billion dollars. That’s an effective tax rate of over 40% for each company.



That’s quite a bit of money going to towards the government. To give you a better idea, that amounts to approximately 50% of the cost of the war in Afghanistan in 2011. If it weren’t for that large sum of money, the federal deficit would be climbing at an even greater rate.


In addition, the oil and gas industry is playing a large role in improving the job market. In 2011 these “evil corporations” created 9% of the new jobs.


That’s a huge help to a job market that’s been stagnant over the past few years. In addition, it’s estimated that by 2030 domestic oil and gas production could support an additional 1.4 million jobs and raise an additional $800 billion of government revenue.


"...these “evil corporations” created 9% of the new jobs..."



Although it’s good politics to paint the oil and gas industry as evil corporations that take advantage of common Americans the truth may be slightly different. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that ExxonMobil and Chevron were two of the ten most charitable companies in 2011.


It’s time for politicians to note the oil industry's role in providing the government with revenue and also supporting job growth.


Is there room for improving and even expanding the industry’s role in supporting the country? Probably.


However, it’s hard to start a meaningful discussion if one side isn’t willing to at least acknowledge the value of these companies.



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