Monday, February 18, 2008

"Exxon's Lonely Battle", and the "Stimulus"

Almost from the first day he took office, President Bush has been accused of being in the pockets of the oil companies. If only there were even a smidgen of truth to that. The fact is, Bush has done nothing that I can determine to retaliate against the looting thugs of the world who “nationalize” (i.e., steal) the assets of America’s oil companies.

One example is Bolivia, where Exxon-Mobil lost a $1 billion dollar investment in oil and gas projects begun under legitimately negotiated contracts that were unilaterally abrogated by the government there. I don’t know whether or by how much Exxon may have been “compensated” for its loss, but their property was stolen regardless.

The nationalization of Exxon’s assets by Venezuela is another outrage. In both cases, the oil industry “lapdog”, President Bush, did nothing in defense of this great American Company. There was no high profile verbal public lashing of either Bolivia or Venezuela. There was no diplomatic hardball such as a freeze on national relations with those looters. Nothing.

Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil has taken to the courts against Venezuela’s parasitic little dictator Hugo Chávez. After winning the first round with the $315 million freeze of Petróleos de Venezuela’s (Venezuela’s state oil company) assets, Chávez threatened to cut off oil shipments to the United States in retaliation. But should Exxon-Mobil have to fight this battle on its own, given the blatant injustice perpetrated against it?

In a piece entitled Exxon's Lonely Battle, Thomas A. Bowden of the Ayn Rand Institute states:

“Now Exxon is fighting a lonely battle in the courts, facing down an armed dictatorship that sneers at private property rights and dares anyone to defy its might… If there is anything the President of the United States should 'comment on,' it is the brazen theft of American property by a thuggish, petulant dictator.”

The fact is, the theft of American oil assets has been going on for decades, with the American Government doing virtually nothing. The Middle Eastern oil-rich nations have been getting fat on “nationalized” assets of Western Oil Companies since at least the 1950s. No wonder the Bin Ladens of the world see America as a paper tiger.

Meanwhile here at home, the economic “stimulus” package is getting ready to do its magic. But as I pointed out in my post of 02/09/08, you can’t consume your way to prosperity. In an excellent essay on, Ayn Rand Institute Executive Director Yaron Brook lays out the best “plan” for getting the economy going… get the government out of the way. Here are some excerpts:

“Economic growth means an increase in the amount of wealth that exists in a country--and all wealth must be produced. Houses, health care, air-conditioning and transportation do not come ready-made from nature. We have them only to the extent that individuals and businesses bring them into existence.

“The focus of today's stimulus packages on consumer spending is therefore completely backward. Consumption is a consequence of production. This fact is ignored by the Bush plan, which attempts to achieve prosperity through $100 billion in deficit-spending. Though this might bring the appearance of prosperity, in the same way that an unemployed man appears prosperous if he goes on a shopping spree with his credit cards, the reality will be the opposite.

“The economic stimulus that would result from drastically cutting government regulation and spending (and thus taxation) is almost unimaginable.

“What our economy needs is not a stimulation package, but a liberation package.”

The article touches on some of the myriad ways our governments, both federal and state, hamper economic growth. When you read this as well as consider the cases of the oil and the pharmaceutical companies (Post of 02/17/08), is it any wonder that our economy is in a funk?

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