Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips are going to receive $18 billion dollars' worth of tax breaks over the next ten years, in spite of $123 billion dollars in profit and poor people spending 10 percent of their income on gas because American corporations have sabotaged every attempt to create European style mass transit in this country.
In 1886 the Supreme Court unwittingly created a pantheon of living gods on Earth by granting corporations the same rights given to individuals. In a dispute between Santa Clara County and the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Court defined corporations as "persons", that according to the 14th Amendment (intended to protect freed slaves), "no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law", and that California could not tax corporations differently than individuals.
A corporation can effectively become an immortal being of immense power by replacing worn out personnel and acolytes, and if need be, by moving across the street and changing its name, as gods themselves are wont to do. Modern life has thus become a competition between unconnected individuals and the thousands who have allied themselves with some corporate master. This puts a free man in the unenviable position of a journeyman carpenter trying to compete with the team building a pyramid.
To join a corporation, to consider its mission statement your holy writ, requires the corporate believer to hold fast to certain professions of faith. The Senior Vice President of Exxon Mobil, Stephen Simon, tells us that the oil companies deserve the tax break because "imposing punitive taxes on American companies will discourage the investments needed to safeguard our energy security." Shell's Hofmeister has the gall to blame the Interior Department. "The U.S. government restricts supply to American consumers," and Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron, chimes in that the Congress should "open up the 95 percent of the outer continental shelf that's off limits" to drilling. Poor babies; Exxon only made $40 billion dollars last year, and only 9 percent of that was profit margin.
Remember when we used to smile at Grandfather Heinlein's science fiction prophecy that nation states would be replaced by corporations?