RANDOM THOTS – THE COLUMN

Inflation
Don’t look now, but inflation is peeking around the corner.

We are getting a very, very sharp rebound in core inflation and much more than the Fed had bargained for.”  Eric Green, chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

Overall consumer prices were up 3.6 percent from a year earlier,   Reuters

Last months drop in gasoline prices masked the increases in everything else. The wholesale price of cheese is up 23% since year end, butter 45%. Grocers are absorbing much of the price increase but that won’t prevail very long.

The debt thing
Obama says the American public is crying out for higher taxes. It’s just stubborn ideologues in Congress who are opposed to paying more income tax. He may be 45% right. That’s the number of people who pay no taxes but still enjoy benefits paid for by those who do.

The President says Congress is ignoring the will of the people by keeping taxes down. The solution is simple; add another line to the income tax form so all the unhappy people can add whatever extra amount makes them happy.

Big oil profits
ExxonMobil’s has operations in more than 100 countries around the world. The part of the business that refines and sells gasoline and diesel in the United States represents less than 3 percent – or 3 cents on the dollar – of Exxon’s total earnings. For every gallon of gasoline, diesel or finished products the company manufactured and sold in the United States in the last three months of 2010, Exxon earned a little more than 2 cents. That’s not a typo. Two cents.

Large oil companies risk capital, have big holdings confiscated by nations, transport crude from well to refinery, refine or pay for refining and transport the final product to thousands of service stations.  For that they make about 2 cents a gallon.  Federal and State governments do none of it, yet they make an average 50.1 cents per gallon in taxes.  Then the demagogues call the oil companies rapists.

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