What's missing is the whole picture, including the fact that, for Exxon, prior to making $11.68 billion in profit, the government took $32.36 billion in taxes. The rest of the picture is that the profit is only 8.5% of their earnings. They're making under 10% in profit, but the government is getting 23% of their earnings.
Yes, Exxon mobile paid three times as much in taxes to the government, yet it is the government officials who are saying that their profit is 'too much' and should be taxed even more as a 'windfall.'
Did you know that one of the most widely held stocks in America is Exxon? Did you know that most retirement funds invest heavily in not only Exxon but other oil companies? Those profits are what's driving UP the value of your retirement portfolio, and providing you with the earnings you plan to live on when you're older.
Of course, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama immediately issued a plan for those profits - he wants to take those profits and give you a check for $1,000. How magnanimous of him...to steal money from one entity in order to give it to another. And you cannot think of this as taking from some nebulous 'big oil' company - you must think of this as it will work: he wants to take earnings from every stockholder in order to give those dollars to someone else - someone who didn't purchase stock and make an investment in that company.
“Obama simply asks that big oil companies contribute a reasonable share of the windfall profits they receive from high oil prices over the next five years to pay for emergency assistance for families right now,” the campaign says.
Since those oil companies have already 'contributed' $3 for every $1 in profit, wouldn't it be logical to think they've already given a 'reasonable share' of their profits? Well, not if you're pandering to an ignorant voter base who only hears that they'll get something for nothing from that nanny-state government who's going to 'take care of us.'
Always remember - government has nothing that it doesn't first take from someone else. And companies don't pay taxes - they pass along the costs of taxes and fees to the consumer in the price of their product. And anything more that government takes from 'big oil' may end up reducing the income you plan to live on when you retire.
UPDATED: Today's Wall Street Journal asks a similar question: What is a windfall profit? (I came across this article after posting mine...and they make some similar points - but with better statistics.)