Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hey, Now, What's That Sound?

Buffalo Springfield told us that "there's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." Our unpredictable local columnist Mike Masterson thinks he has it figured out. He says there might be some connection between the 20-cent per gallon jump in gasoline prices this month and the record $40 billion corporate profits of ExxonMobil. "The whole mess tells me that oil pricing, not supply and demand in a free market, is what dictates your cost and mine," he concludes.

Cynicism strikes deep; into your heart it will creep. "Yeah," Masterson says, "I readily concede that I have devolved into a skeptical cynic who today believes his lying eyes rather than the calculated blend of vague explanations from well-oiled PR execs or any others with agendas. I also believe that an industry raking in such obscene world-record profits at the expense of our economy’s well-being badly needs to examine its level of national gratitude and morality."

Sorry to break it to you, Mike, but business behavior is not driven by gratitude and morality. Why do you think Arkansas Western Gas is opposed to paying a fair severance tax for depletion of a non-renewable natural resource? Why do you think Wal-Mart jerks around its employees who try to organize for a living age and imports cheap Chinese products instead of buying American? Why do you think our local developers and the sprawl merchants at the Chamber of Cowbirds killed road impact fees?

Everybody look what's going down. Bigger profits are the heart and soul of capitalism, you late-blooming pinko. More money. Your quaint appeals to gratitude, morality, and the common good will fall on deaf ears of those in the corporate world, whether it be the big oil companies, the local developers, or the servile politicians who do their bidding. Profits will always trump prophets, but thanks for playing.

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