by Deborah Lake
George Will likes to position himself as a libertarian. In order to be a CONSISTENT libertarian, it would behoove him to take the view that monopoly control of strategic assets like oil would be a bad thing.
In Windfall for the Dimwitted, Will takes Byron Dorgan to task for asking that oil companies cough up some of their exhorbitant profit over the last quarter. The implication that Dorgan should be strangled for proposing laws that Will disagrees with is disturbing, but a daily horror that we have become accustomed to, and the topic of another article for sure.
Will calls the profits "unimpressive" without stating the dollar amount. Taking issue with his characterization, I see that news reports state third quarter profits at $32 billion. That impresses the heck out of me.
Will, fond of making bad analogies, compares oil company margins to that of Coca Cola, with the claim that oil companies don't make nearly as much money as Coke does per dollar. Somehow, that is supposed to evoke sympathy in the reader?
The fact is that oil rights should have never been turned over to private corporations. Oil is a gift from the planet and should be controlled by the people who sit on the planet rather than a few cowboys who depend on our military support to keep their rigs operating. When they need taxpayer support via military bases and legislation, they claim to be a vital American interest. But when it comes time to be a good patriotic American corporate citizen, they hold up their paws and whimper about how their profits aren't really all that much in the grand scheme of things. In the same edition of the Washington Post, we see that auto companies are lining up for government bailouts. Now, where is their taking control of their own lives, their sense of personal responsibility supposed to come in, like it does for everyone else?
Some assets should never have been turned over to private control. The most frightening of those is water. Water operations have been increasingly privatized over the last 25 years. I can wait for the day when my obedience is commanded or my water supply will be cut off. Think I'm being a conspiracy theorist? Ask the people of many nations who have been structurally adjusted by the IMF just how well its working. Do people have to die for the right to drinking water? Yes, they do.
Ask the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia, how it played out for them.