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Are You in Touch with Oil Executives?

Two billion dollars in federal tax breaks yearly, are shared by oil companies. They say they deserve it, even though they earned collectively $34 billion in the first quarter of this year.

They say they’re in touch with Americans–they are, as long as the Americans are Republican members of Congress. Five executives, from BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell, earning record profits, say they share the concerns of Americans, that it is all a matter of perspective. The Republicans agree with them.

Some of the back and forth, and highlights

Senator Jay Rockefeller, who knows something about oil, hazarded to criticize the oil executives:

“I think you’re out of touch, deeply profoundly out of touch and deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing,” Rockefeller said. “You never lose. You’ve never lost. You always prevail.”

“I’m not out of touch at all,” said Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, complacent, unconcerned, and untouchable. “We do understand the big picture. We do understand the enormous challenges confronting the American people with respect to this enormous deficit that has to be dealt with.”

“I find it hard to understand how you can come here before this committee and the American people and say, when you are projected to make $125 billion in profits this year,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D- N.J., said. “That somehow the loss of $2 billion a year, which means you only make $123 billion in profits, is somehow so punishing, somehow not part of shared sacrifice, somehow you need to go back at them at the pump to make up for it.”

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