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Thursday
May122011

Three Cheers for Jim Mulva and a Handful of Other Business Executives Who Stood Up and Fought

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Most of the Senate Finance Committee has been un-American for years. The only reason ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva was taken to task in a Senate Finance Committee hearing over a ConocoPhillips press release today is because the rest of us have been insufficiently forthright when in communication with our Senators. The dunderheads don't face the truth nearly often enough.

Mulva, in fact, is a gentleman. His company's press release did not even refer to Finance Committe members as "un-American"; the Senators just assumed it described them. Who says they aren't self-aware?

In any case, it was nice to see a handful of business executives fighting back on Capitol Hill today. Despite the lies you hear, this is not always the case, and oil companies are no exception.

The typical businessman response to an unfair attack from the left is to quickly and generously step up contributions to green and black groups. I call it a kindergarten strategy, as it assumes that if you push the buttons of the correct colors, you earn approval. In fact, all it gets you is "a seat at the table" at at dessert buffet at which you are the main attraction. Suckers for everyone!

Mulva is exactly correct that tax proposals that single out specific businesses are fundamentally un-American. Take-my-employee-girlfriend-on-taxpayer-financed-trips Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus is pushing a bill that would raise taxes on certain oil companies, but not others. Mulva comes from a part of America that still believes in equality under the law. The Senate Finance Committee membership bottom feeds in a city in which it is perfectly logical that a business owned by a black or a female should have a higher likelihood of receiving a government contract than one owned by a non-female white person. The issues may seem unrelated, but they're not: In both cases, the politicians choose the winners, merit and taxpayer value be damned.

So while it's not at all surprising that numerous members of the Senate Finance Committee don't know "un-American" when they see it, it is entertaining to see how stupidly they respond when unexpectedly confronted with reality. Take, for example, Senator Jay Rockefeller's asinine response to Chevron CEO John Watson saying: "I don't think the American people want shared sacrifice. I think they want shared prosperity."

Rockefeller responded, "Do you understand how out of touch that is? We don’t get to share prosperity until we go through shared sacrifice."

The man seriously believes prosperity comes from Washington, and is created by raising taxes. When you stop laughing, you wince.

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