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Income Redistribution – Upward!

The new Fortune 500 listings are out, ranking big corporations by revenue. But the list gets even more interesting if you rank them by profits. Exxon Mobil is #2 by revenue, but they are far and away #1 in profits, making what even Fortune magazine called “astonishing” profits of $35.6 billion dollars. That’s 52 times more profits than the median company in the Fortune 500.

Taken together, profits for the Fortune 500 grew 81% in 2010. But the bad news is that “trickle down economics” still isn’t working:

But guess who didn’t benefit much from this giant wave of cash? Millions of U.S. workers stuck mired in a stagnant job market.

Sure, these corporate profits derived partly from productivity gains, including workforce reductions. And many 500 companies are growing faster overseas than in the U.S. Nevertheless, we’ve rarely seen such a stark gulf between the fortunes of the 500 and those of ordinary Americans.

That’s right. If there is class warfare, ordinary Americans are definitely losing that war.

Three of the top five companies (the Fortune 5?) were oil companies — Exxon Mobil was joined by Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Together, these three companies made $60.9 billion in profits. Ironically, despite these record-breaking profits, the Republicans still seem to think that we should continue to give billions in subsidies to the oil companies. In fact, on Thursday the Republicans unanimously voted against ending subsidies.

Yes, these are the subsidies that even oil company executives say they don’t need. But what makes this hypocritical is that even the Republicans are saying that we should abolish these subsidies, but then keep voting for them. WTF? Watch as the same GOP politicians say they are against oil company subsidies, while simultaneously voting for them:

And the Republicans can’t claim that they want to keep the subsidies in order to keep gas prices from rising even more. Also on Thursday, House Republicans managed to delay regulation of speculation in oil, even though rampant speculation is one of the main causes of high oil prices.



  1. Sammy wrote:

    But Sarah Palin told me the oil industry subsidies are a super tiny percentage of the budget, so it’s just rhetoric. Wonder what she thinks of the NPR subsidy and federal money spent on Planned Parenthood. Hmmm…..

    Friday, May 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  2. ThatGuy wrote:

    Sammy, in a world where Russia is visible from Juneau, rational math probably doesn’t exist either.

    Friday, May 6, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  3. BTN wrote:

    Hey, at least Sarah Palin is an Alaskan (please don’t make me defend her again). I doubt we’ll see any Iowa Democrats from voting against Ethanol subsidies.

    Equally important questions than the Republican votes:
    1) Why didn’t Democrats repeal the subsides when they had majorities in the House, Senate, and the presidency?
    2) Why aren’t Democrats publicizing this more in an effort to get Republicans to chage their vote?

    Answer: Democratic politicians are fed by the same hand. They are just doing this to score election points, not to produce any real change.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink