Posts Tagged ‘profits’
President Barack Obama on Saturday kept pressure on the Congress to end tax breaks for oil and gas companies, saying they were enjoying huge profits, as he sought to limit political fallout from rising gasoline prices…
“When oil companies are making huge profits and you’re struggling at the pump, and we’re scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren’t right,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “They aren’t smart. And we need to end them.”
Oil companies posted sharply higher first-quarter earnings this week with oil prices above $100 a barrel on unrest in the Middle East and growing global demand for energy.
Leading the way, Exxon Mobil, the world’s most valuable publicly listed company, beat analysts’ forecasts by posting a 69 percent rise in earnings to $10.65 billion, its biggest profit since the third quarter of 2008.
Obama insisted he remained committed to “safe and responsible oil production here at home” but said the money from oil industry tax subsidies would be better invested in developing alternative energy sources…
There’s the usual CYA crap in the middle of the article offering up Republican rationales for their butts belonging to Big Oil. Read it if you like collecting ancient propaganda.
Obama has insisted there is no “magic bullet” for bringing down gas prices. But the White House is worried that if gas prices continue rising, the issue could drown out the economic recovery message at the heart of his re-election strategy.
There is no sanity to providing subsidies and tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations in the world. Obviously Republicans presume a kickback from the Oil Patch Boys to fund their 2012 electoral campaigns. That’s pretty much a given. And in states mostly beholden to fossil fuel profits both wings of the Tired Old Party, Democrats and Republicans alike will siphon funds from that deep dark fuel tank.
The only surprise in this process is the number of Americans willing to accept the same old lies, the same foolishness about helping our economy with trickle-down voodoo economics. The only time anything trickles down the legs of Oil Companies results from fear and trembling at the prospect of paying their own way.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Barclays Bank has been forced to admit it paid just £113m in UK corporation tax in 2009 – a year when it rang up a record £11.6bn of profits.
The admission stunned politicians and tax campaigners. It was revealed on the eve of a day of protests planned against the high street banks by activists from UK Uncut, a group set up five months ago to oppose government cuts and corporate tax avoidance.
The Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who lobbied Barclays’ chief executive, Bob Diamond, to reveal the tax paid by the bank, described the figure – just 1% of its 2009 profits – as “shocking”.
The current rate of corporation tax in the UK is 28%, although global banks such as Barclays – which has hundreds of overseas subsidiaries, including many in tax havens – do not generate all of their profits in their domestic market.
Max Lawson, of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, said: “This is proof that banks live in a parallel universe to the rest of us, paying billions in bonuses and unhampered by the inconvenience of paying tax.
“If banks paid their fair share we could avoid the worst of the cuts and help those hit hardest by the financial crisis they did nothing to cause.”
Just to give you an idea of how “tough” the Blair Labour government was on big corporations.
Sounds like home to an American.
Despite efforts to limit their availability, public elementary school students in the United States have more outlets to buy unhealthy beverages at school…
Over a three-year period ending in 2009, more students could buy sweetened beverages like sodas, higher-fat milk and sports beverages from vending machines and school stores… Such drinks are a major source of calories, and removing them from schools could help curb the nation’s obesity epidemic.
“Elementary school students are still surrounded by a variety of unhealthy beverages while at school,” said Lindsey Turner of the University of Illinois at Chicago…
Although U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines say schools should not provide sweetened beverages in government supported cafeteria meals, students can buy these items in vending machines or school stores — known as competitive venues because they compete with the government meals…
During the three years of the study, they said the number of vending machines remained stable, but access to stores or snack bars or a la carte cafeteria lines rose significantly.
By 2009, 61 percent of students could buy high-calorie drinks from vending machines or school stores compared with 49 percent just two years prior…
Too much sugar not only makes people fatter, but is also a key culprit in diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association…
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, urged Congress to pass the U.S. lawmakers to pass the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act when it returns for the lame duck session.
Sounds way too principled for Congress – lame duck or otherwise.
Faced with a choice between aiding kids to have a healthier diet vs. optimizing profits for crap-drink corporations, which side do you think our politicians will choose, eh?
Unused ammo seized from gang after 10-hour shootout
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
As Mexico approaches its bicentennial, Mexico’s president says his country is fighting significant security problems — many of which are fueled by U.S. policies.
“We live next to the world’s largest drug consumer, and all the world wants to sell them drugs through our door and our window. And we live next to the world’s largest arms seller, which is supplying the criminals,” Mexican President Felipe Calderon told CNN en Español…
He said many of America’s leaders have acknowledged a shared responsibility in drug violence.
“But I think in American society, there is still not a sense of sharing responsibility, unfortunately,” he said.
The 2004 end to the U.S. federal assault weapons ban gave criminals new resources, he said. “They gained access to powerful firearms that they didn’t have before,” he said…
“It’s not only guns; it’s weapons, it’s arsenals of all kinds that come south,” Hillary Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday. “So I feel a real sense of responsibility to do everything we can. And again, we’re working hard to come up with approaches that will actually deliver…”
But still, Calderon said he was optimistic about Mexico’s future. He claimed the country had made significant headway combating poverty, and that he planned to work toward improving its economic competitiveness, education systems and national security.
“Even in this terrible moment of insecurity that we are living, I know that we are taking the firm steps that tomorrow will make Mexico secure,” he said.
The parallel analyses of the United States as primary customer for drugs traveling through Mexico – and as primary source for cartel weapons – is impossible to dispute unless you’re one of the clan of nitwits whose ideology overrules all evidence, the realities confronting police on both sides of the border.
Decriminalization of drug use takes extreme profits and gangsters out of the consumption side of the equation. The weapons side is much more difficult given the American love affair with things that go bang – and our craven politicians fear of the NRA.
A donor to the National Tea Party convention says in a lawsuit the convention organizer reneged on a partnership deal and spread defamatory comments about him.
Bill Hemrick, a wealthy conservative and founder of the Upper Deck baseball trading card company, filed the suit against Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips in Williamson County, Tenn…The suit, which seeks $500,000 in damages, comes nearly two months after the National Tea Party convention in Nashville.
Hemrick had loaned the group $50,000 toward the $100,000 speaking fee for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Fox said.
Hemrick’s attorney, Phillip Jones, told The (Nashville) Tennessean, his client gave the loan to forge a long-term relationship with Phillips’ Tea Party Nation. “My client takes politics very seriously,” Jones said. “And he thought they were going to be partners. But once he advanced the money, he found out that was not the case…”
Jones says he repaid the loan – with no interest – and the convention only “broke even” so there were no profits to share.
Or we could turn complete control of the economy over to cronies like this
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
The Federal Reserve made a profit of $52.1 billion in 2009, a rise of 47% over the previous year.
The sum allowed the central bank to pay a record $46.1 billion to the US Treasury last year. That was the largest amount ever paid by the central bank since its creation in 1914.
The record figure was largely thanks to its attempts to support the financial system throughout the ongoing financial crisis.
The Fed funds itself from its own operations and returns any profits to the Treasury department. The figures suggest that US taxpayers have, so far, gained money from the US government’s action in propping up the system…
The emergency lending programmes instituted by the central bank during the last year’s financial crisis helped swell the Fed’s balance sheet to more than $2 trillion…
The Fed also earned money from its emergency loans to banks and other firms, such as the giant carmakers. It charged both interest and fees on these.
That’s kind of brief, a snapshot, a precis of what the balance sheet looks like. Hopefully, it provides some clarity to folks who don’t usually pay attention to aspects of the U.S. economy that involve the Fed or its management.
When the tips her husband earned as a waiter began dwindling a year ago, Esmeralda Delgado decided to help support her family.
Twice a week, Ms. Delgado, the mother of three young girls, walks across the bridge from Piedras Negras, Mexico, where she lives, to Eagle Pass, Texas, and enters a building just two blocks from the border.
Inside, for about an hour, Ms. Delgado lies hooked to a machine that extracts plasma, the liquid part of the blood, from a vein in her arm. The $60 a week she is paid almost equals her husband’s earnings…
Hundreds, probably thousands, of Mexicans like Ms. Delgado come to the United States to trade their plasma for dollars. Eagle Pass, a town of 27,000 that bills itself as the place “where yee-hah meets olé,” has two such plasma collection centers. There are about 15 others in border cities from Brownsville, Tex., to Yuma, Ariz…
Based on typical industry yields and prevailing prices, it appears that a single plasma donation, for which a donor might be paid $30, results in pharmaceutical products worth at least $300.
Away from the border as well, many plasma collection centers have historically been located in areas of extreme poverty, some with high drug abuse. That troubles some people, who say it might contaminate the plasma supply or the health of people who sell their plasma.
“Why in the United States do we have to depend on people who are down and out to donate?” says Dr. Roger Kobayashi, an immunologist in Omaha who uses plasma products to treat many patients. “You are taking advantage of economically disadvantaged individuals, and I don’t think you are that worried about their health.”
Dr. Kobayashi, who also teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, says the collections on the Mexican border skirt the policy aimed at keeping plasma products safe from pathogens by prohibiting imports of plasma. “If you can’t import the plasma,” he says, “why not import the donor?”
RTFA. Long, detailed account of corporate ghouls profiting from the poor.
The story isn’t really new. Just the dynamic size of the business and a business that’s figured out how to import people lower down the economic scale than the poorest Americans.
This week, the science of medicine bumped up against the foundations of American medical consumerism: that more is better, that saving a life is worth any sacrifice, that health care is a birthright.
Two new recommendations, calling for delaying the start and reducing the frequency of screening for breast and cervical cancer, have been met with anger and confusion from some corners, not to mention a measure of political posturing.
The backers of science-driven medicine, with its dual focus on risks and benefits, have cheered the elevation of data in the setting of standards. But many patients — and organizations of doctors and disease specialists — find themselves unready to accept the counterintuitive notion that more testing can be bad for your health.
Counterintuitive? Baloney! There is nothing intuitive or counterintuitive about these questions. There only is the latest data, advancing understanding through scientific analysis. Leave the psychologizing for the nutballs and skeptical paranoids.
“People are being asked to think differently about risk,” said Sheila M. Rothman, a professor of public health at Columbia University. “The public state of mind right now is that they’re frightened that evidence-based medicine is going to be equated with rationing. They don’t see it in a scientific perspective…”
“They” aren’t even attempting to read and examine a scientific perspective. “They” are only accustomed to being led about by pundits and talking heads.
Dr. H. Gilbert Welch said, “Now we’re trying to negotiate that balance,” he said. “There’s no right answer, but I can tell you that the right answer is not always to start earlier, look harder and look more frequently…”
As throughout history, it may take decades for medical culture to catch up to medical science. Dr. Rothman pointed out that it took 20 years for the public to accept the discovery in 1882 that tuberculosis was caused by a bacterium and not by heredity or behavior. More than 160 years after the Hungarian-born physician Ignaz Semmelweis posited that hand-washing could prevent the spread of infectious disease, studies still show that half of all hospital workers do not follow basic hygiene protocols.
Dr. Welch has the appropriate historic perspective. When analytical skills were less, testing not as precise, a shotgun approach had statistics on its side. The fact of that diminishing as a requirement is a positive. Discouraging unnecessary fattening of the wallets of medical specialists ain’t bad either.
The chief executive of HSBC, the world’s fourth-largest bank, has warned that the state-sponsored bail-outs of western banks could encourage a return of reckless behaviour in the City and other financial centres.
Michael Geoghegan said the conservative policies followed by his bank in recent years, which were criticised by some shareholders, had provided a solid base to weather the financial storm. He said rival banks had taken risks and been punished by the markets – only to be rescued by the government’s £37bn package.
He said: “I hope these guarantees are not in place for too long. They may create the wrong type of behaviour by managements in those banks…”
Although the bank yesterday announced a huge write-down on its US operation and predicted the financial turmoil would greatly slow economic growth around the world, it was upbeat about its prospects.
The bank said it had boosted its finances, maintained its dividend and declared only a small dip in profits after successfully navigating the events of the past month that saw all its UK rivals survive only with a £37bn bail-out. Geoghegan said the crisis showed how HSBC’s policies protected shareholders when times were tough.
Cripes. HSBC lends money based on real assets and makes a profit. Why should they have to tolerate competition from sleazy, semi-solvent hustlers who profited – for a while – from illicit property valuations?
In what might be the high watermark for corporate profits, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, Exxon Mobil, reported another blowout quarter Thursday, after oil prices hit a record this summer.
Exxon said its quarterly income rose by 58 percent to $14.8 billion, well above what analysts had expected.
The quarter includes an after-tax gain of $1.6 billion for the sale of a natural gas transportation business in Germany. Excluding one-time items, Exxon’s profit was $13.4 billion, still a record quarter for an American corporation…
“This is a good outcome, but some investors will be disappointed by the sluggish production volumes,” said Tony Shepard, an analyst at the broker Charles Stanley in London. “Given the fall in the oil price, an issue for all oil and gas companies is current levels of capital expenditure.”
So, uh, have you had very much of these enormous profits trickle down onto your household?