Just one minute

Just imagine, in one little minute you could have earned your whole year’s wages and then some, and had the rest of the year off to spend it.

Crazy? Oh no!

Exxon Mobil reported that it had an $8.4 billion net profit for the first three months of 2006. So what’s it to you? A lot. Yes, a lot of money. Let’s look at some numbers.

Exxon Mobil profits break down like this:

• three months’ profit — $8.4 billion

• each day’s profit — $92.3 million

• each hour’s profit — $3.85 million

• each minute’s profit — $64,102.

That’s what rip-off gasoline prices can do to make you poor and the oil monopolies fatter.

But wait! Get out your crying towels. Wall Street said that’s not good enough and it didn’t meet Wall Street’s expectations. So, Exxon Mobil stock went down!

How maximum is maximum profits? Only as high as the organized strength of the people will allow. Not just gasoline users. Everyone, because everyone pays for the corporate profiteering eventually.

We must act because the bad news keeps coming. Since Exxon Mobil reported, the other oil giants have also reported mind-boggling profits.

Whose fault are these high prices, anyhow? According to the oil companies it’s OPEC. Bunk. The crude oil stockpiles are the biggest in eight years. OPEC isn’t raising prices every day — they sell by contract with prices fixed in advance. It’s the Wall Street speculators and oil monopolies which raise prices every day. They are allowed to do so at least once a day by law. Ever hear Washington politicians point to OPEC? Sure — that’s because they’re in bed with the oil companies. Don’t we have an oil-dominated president and vice president? So don’t expect too much from them.

Ever hear these fakers blame India and China because their “economies are growing so fast.” Not so. The price of crude oil would be $40 a barrel with China factored in, according to Wall Street experts. It’s “pigs at the trough,” like Exxon Mobil and the rest, these experts say.

It’s your fault too. You and your gas-guzzler are forcing prices up, up, up. Even though you and millions of others have cut down or stopped driving. High monopoly prices always impose automatic rationing and suffering on the poorest strata of society. It’s true for all commodities and services.

What is true, however, is that, in addition to the profiteering, the Iraq war has added $10 a barrel to oil prices.

It’s time for action.

• A national movement should consider picking out one oil company for boycott. By united action of the many against the one, it can be forced to lower prices.

• Seize all excess profits and use them to enlarge the mass transit system everywhere.

• Make public transit free. Remember, our country was on a steady growth path with public mass transit as the mover of people and goods. The oil and auto companies plotted and carried out the destruction of public transportation. The mighty interstate railroads were destroyed. Now President Bush is trying to kill what remains of Amtrak. No, we’re not addicted to oil; we’re forced to take it — like castor oil.

• Open up a publicly owned petroleum drilling and refining industry.

• Call Congress (202) 224-3121. Demand action now.

Pat Barile (pbarile@cpusa.org) is a member of the national board of the Communist Party USA.