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Kindly define ‘obscene profit’

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Teresa Haller complained about “big oil” in a recent letter to the editor (May 6). I remember Hillary Clinton once complaining about the “obscene profits” of the oil companies. Just what constitutes “obscene” profit? Presently, the federal and state governments get approximately 65 cents of the price of every gallon of gas purchased in California. With gas at $4 per gallon, the “big government” collects 16 percent of what you pay. And government does not have to pay dividends to company shareholders, replace worn-out equipment, hire workers, fund employee pensions and employee health insurance, repair refinery equipment, increase safety features on equipment, replace tanker truck tires, put money into finding and drilling new oil reserves, researching and developing new products or creating newer, cleaner-burning fuels. And if the oil had to be shipped in from the Middle East, it is the company that pays for that, not the government. By the time you figure in all costs of production, refining, transportation and sale, it is very likely that the federal and state governments get more money from each gas purchase you make than the oil company gets in profit for having produced it for your use. The more restrictions and fees are placed on oil companies, the more it will cost to produce that gas. Take away any tax breaks they get and the price goes still higher, with the extra you pay at the pump all going to the government, not the oil companies. Be careful what you wish for. Kathy Twisselmann, Rocklin