Windfall Tax O’Reilly’s Salary

Bill O’Reilly makes about 10 million a year as a sanctimonious hot head.  Despite my misgivings he’s still a ten times better source of news than ABC, NBC or CBS.

Early in the Iraq War when Marines were getting blown up right and left at check points, Peter Jennings of ABC reported that Marines allegedly fired warning shots before shooting occupants of an approaching truck who would not yield to commands.  Switching to NBC I experienced the same insulting allegedly rhetoric suggesting Marines were lying to us.

Our soldiers were over there getting killed protecting America and the mainstream anchors, without any proof, assumed they were lying to us.

I switched to FOX News which reported the story without using the epithet allegedly and I haven’t watched the networks sense.  Normally I don’t mind O’Reilly’s arrogant self-righteous delivery.  He has pioneered a new style of journalism, opinionated in the image of Howard Stern but with more deference to public sensibilities.

That said his continued assault on the oil companies is getting old.   Daily he rails against demagoguery then indulges it for his purposes.

According to O’Reilly oil companies are making obscene profits and his laments are only providing ammunition for government politicians wanting to take us further into socialism.  The windfall profits tax on the oil companies has thankfully been blocked by Republicans, but O’Reilly is charging them partisan and obstructionist to which I applaud the obstructionists.

O’Reilly has recently penned in his column, The oil companies will continue to make more profit than any business in the history of mankind.

The hyperbolic tone is meant to be emotional.  When we analyze the statement, however, what should we expect?

Oil is one of the largest industries in the Nation and we are in a growing economy (despite reports to the contrary).  Aren’t the biggest American corporations supposed to have the largest profits?  Would we prefer these profits to be obtained in some other country?

How really big are these profits?  An objective look reveals Microsoft, Google, IBM, GE, and others have a greater profit when measured in terms of percentage of revenue.

General Motors lost 39 billion, almost as much as Exxon Mobil made.   Why don’t we hear politicians scream about obscene losses?  If you want to fear something, the 39 billion dollar loss at GM is a much bigger threat to any of us than is Exxon Mobil’s 40 billion dollar profit.

O’Reilly goes on to explain his tough love plan to fix gas prices:

1)  All American made vehicles must get 30MPG by 2010 or pay a major tax surcharge to the government.
2)  Oil and commodity speculators must put up 50% of their transactions in cash. That would weed out some of the gamblers who are manipulating the market.
3)  American oil companies must supply the federal government with a written explanation every time they raise the price of gas and oil.
4)  Americans would be asked to cut back at least 10% on leisure driving and not to buy gas at all on Mondays.

Great, a 39 billion dollar loss at GM isn’t enough to motivate automakers so O’Reilly wants some pinhead in government to mandate more regulations.  Watch for unintended consequences.

Next get the speculators.

Speculators provide a valuable service.  By anticipating price increases they curtail usage now for impending scarcities in the future (Walter Williams 101).  If speculators are wrong they lose a lot of money when things cool down, if they are right society benefits by having less scarcity of the particular commodity in the future.

High oil prices result from worldwide demand competing for the same resources.  Expecting government bureaucrats to fix the price of oil and mange speculators is like asking a five year old to take over his kindergarten class and lecture his teacher.   If bureaucrats were that smart they would be speculators, not bureaucrats.

Early in Bill Clinton’s Presidency he signed a bill to attack wages over one million dollars (only for CEOs, he conveniently exempted actors and athletes).  The result was stock options, Enron, and WorldCom.  Unintended consequences.

What was the increased tax for to begin with anyway?   Why on earth was Bill Clinton qualified to know what a CEO ought to make?   This is standard socialist politics.  Legislate to subjugate the brightest minds in the private sector to insure government’s power is not threatened.

Now the bureaucrats want to regulate CEO pay because of stock options which were a work around to attract talent because of bad policy by the bureaucrats to begin with.  Sheeesh!

As if bureaucracy does not already provide enough hostility for business, O’Reilly suggests some sort of written document be required to raise prices, as if that is going to have some real effect in the market.   Moronic.

As for asking Americans to cut back, $4.50 a gallon will accomplish that better than any government sponsored pledge could ever hope to.

Bill O’Reilly is an aggressive guy with some intellectual prowess, but like the actors and athletes that Bill Clinton so notably exempted from his million dollar salary cap, O’Reilly does not have the direct experience of building a business, dealing with its intricacies and the economic realities which challenge it.

He is a valuable cog in a complicated machine called Newscorp designed and built by some other man.  Like so many of our legislators at Capitol Hill, Bill O’Reilly has learned facts from books, but has not experienced firsthand how pressures beyond your own control force you to make decisions to insure the health and well being of the enterprise for which you are responsible.

It is an enviable position to make 10 million dollars a year by just talking into a television camera while others contend with all the details that make it possible for that television camera to operate.  His station insulates Mr. O’Reilly from the economic realities all business owners need to confront.

Perhaps a windfall tax on his salary would equip the pugnacious pontificator the objectivity CEO’s and us lowly business owners need to develop to guarantee the health of our enterprise, the future employment of our people, and the uninterrupted supply of our goods and services to the market.

Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo

15 thoughts on “Windfall Tax O’Reilly’s Salary

  1. Obviously bureaucracy barely provides any hostility to big business, or there wouldn’t be colossal, record-breaking profits at these companies.

    “Like so many of our legislators at Capitol Hill, Bill O’Reilly has learned facts from books, but has not experienced firsthand how pressures beyond your own control force you to make decisions to insure the health and well being of the enterprise for which you are responsible.”

    You know first hand what it’s like to run one of the world’s largest businesses in an industry that has guaranteed and growing demand?

    I do not see how you can compare yourself to a CEO any better than Bill O’Reilly, who has a CEO-level salary and much more experience with big business and big money than you. I do not see any objectivity here. O’Reilly does not run a business, and you do not run one of the largest, most successful corporations in the world, but a struggling small business that you personally oversee and spend 100+ hours of your week maintaining. Neither of you know what it’s like to be the CEO of Exxon, so neither of you are qualified to make statements about his way of life. For that matter, neither am I.

  2. Regarding the marines thing; If the marines shot some people in the back of a truck, what does it matter whether or not they fired warning shots? Switching off NBC in disgust over a matter of semantics doesn’t solve the problem; namely that US soldiers shot some people and may or may not have given warning. Why aren’t you bothered by the actual crime, but by the news reporting on a developing story with no concrete judgment by tribunal or court on the matter? Reporters are supposed to be objective, they’re supposed to use terms like “accused” and “alleged” and “claimed” until the facts are set straight by a court. One of the worst crimes of mass media in the past century is trial by newspaper, or trial by television. If the marines DID fire warning shots, then the allegations were true. If they DID NOT fire warning shots, then the allegations were false.

    You’re ignoring the real issue, that marines may have committed murder, they may have followed protocol. You’re trying to accuse objective reporters of calling soldiers liars, and smear them as unpatriotic in the process. You’re calling NBC and CBS unreliable sources of news because two of their anchors are trying to be objective, reliable sources of news. I suppose this is the “liberal media” that people always complain about? Reporters doing their job properly?

  3. Crumb – When I read the column above, I understood Mr Pontillo’s frustration. In a time of war our soldiers who put themselves in harm way deserve the benefit of the doubt. If they say they fired warning shots they should be taken at their word until further investigation proves otherwise – failure to do that by the networks leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth…and rather than swallow it back you can search out something else such as another network. This seems very reasonable to me as I and many others have done the same. Need proof?? Just look at the difference in ratings between FOX and the rest.


  4. In looking at ExxonMobil s SEC filings, there are some interesting factors. Yes, ExxonMobil did have 40.6 billion in profit. But only 10.17 of that total was from the US. 1.181 billion of that US profit came from the chemical division, stuff like plastic packaging etc. That leaves 8.898 billion from fuel. Total income from 2007 was 390 billion with 115 billion paid in taxes. Not all of that was paid in US taxes but there was a section about something dealing with open tax years going back into the 1980s including the US and several other foreign countries. I would like to know if these are the “tax breaks” our politicians are yakking about. If you can still be charged more taxes for say 1989, that does not sound promising.

  5. Soldiers can commit crimes too, and if they are held in suspicion of such, it is the duty of reporters to be objective. There is no room for patriotism in the truth, because there is no room for bias in the truth.

    Fox’s ratings are high because they are more of an entertainment network than a real news network, and they are panderers, just like Fox’s television programs.

  6. Crumb,

    Your smoking crack again.

    “Allegedly” infers maybe not.

    Take this sentence for example:

    Crumbunist, “allegedly” a straight man, got into a cab with a known homosexual.

    Now everyone knows you’re a homo.

    “There is no room for patriotism in the truth????” What truth? Lying about Marines truth?

    Is there any room in your head for a brain?

    So much for “objectivity”, you knucklehead.

  7. Way to demonstrate that you don’t understand a single thing about what objectivity means. There is no room or patriotism in an objective truth because patriotism is a subjective bias.

    Marines are capable of committing crimes, even if they are fighting a war. If a marine is held in suspicion of a crime, they should be treated equally before the law, like everyone else. Should society take a soldier at their word when they don’t for anyone else? Does joining the army somehow make one a paragon of virtue? How would that headline have sounded if it did not display the same ambivalence for this suspected crime as any other? “Soldiers shot a truck full of people that did not stop.” The crime is still there! In fact, it condemns the marines as killers without a trial, instead of merely raising the possibility.

    Damn right allegedly implies that it MIGHT NOT be true. Because if might not be! If those marines did not ire warning shots, then it was not true! Is there some treasonous crime behind suggesting these individuals MAY OR MAY NOT have committed murder? Would it be better if the media reported that they were definitely innocent? That they were definitely guilty? Or that they are being under suspicion of a crime, WHICH IS THE WHOLE CONTENT OF THE NEWS STORY?

    Of course, I know you’ll trot out “support the troops,” as it is the standard party line when the topic is soldiers who may not be saints after all. “Do you know what this does to their morale?!” “The media’s doubt of these individual marines is actually doubt of the entirety of the US armed forces not suspected criminals within the force!” “If you don’t support every troop unconditionally in all their struggles with everyone, including the justice system, you are a Dimocrat Communist who wants America to LOSE THE WAR!”

  8. Does anyone REALLY think that these few marines represent the whole? Do you think that marines are going to be more bothered by the media not supporting their comrades unconditionally, or by the possibility that their comrades are killers? The media is NOT condemning these suspects either, they are NOT criticizing the war effort or the sacrifices of the marine corps. They are NOT criticizing ANYONE in this situation, they are simply reporting the news: marines shot a truck full of people that did not stop when ordered to, and they say the fired warning shots.

    Ambivalence is NOT doubt, doubt is when you do not believe something, but you have no concrete proof that it is false. Ambivalence is open to interpretation, because it has no stance. Different people will obviously have different opinions of whether or not the marines fired the warning shots or not, based on zero evidence. Evidently, you believe they did fire warning shots, and should be taken at their word. Others will think they did not fire warning shots, and should be tried for murder. People who do not jump to conclusions because they fit their ideology will wait and see whether or not the marines are found innocent or guilty.

  9. ““There is no room for patriotism in the truth????” What truth? Lying about Marines truth?”

    This is my main evidence that you have jumped to the conclusion that the marines fired warning shots, even though you have no evidence to say they did except your ideology that soldiers are always right and should always be trusted o else you’re a COMMIE and want America to LOSE A WAR. [You probably don’t think America has ever lost a war either, and come up with justifications of that position that make pyrrhic victories out of losses].

    Evidently, NBC and CBS are lying about marines because they said that there is a possibility that the marines MAY NOT have fired warning shots. That means the truth is that they DID fire warning shots! And you know this because the truth is patriotism, and you are a patriot and that makes you know the truth while those socialist lieberal Marxists at NBC corporate headquarters do not because they are godless America haters.

  10. Note that in all of this, I have never accused the marines of anything or even suggested that I believe they committed a crime.

  11. Looks like while the socialists are crying about “excessive profits” they are at the same time sowing the seeds of corruption by getting favorable mortgage rates because of their “VIP” status. This story has STINK all over it. When will the stupid masses of this country decide to wake up and return to the fundamentals of the constitution and the framework intended by the incredible founders of this once great nation?

  12. Sowing the seeds of corruption? In the mortgage industry? Now? Have you been paying attention to the economy for the past few years?

  13. Well, somebody has to tell America that we need to consume less energy. And if it comes from an assclown like O’Reilly, then so be it.

  14. “He has pioneered a new style of journalism, opinionated in the image of Howard Stern but with more deference to public sensibilities.”

    To call Bill O’Reilly a ‘journalist’ is to insult respectable journalists everywhere. O’Reilly’s ‘new style of journalism’ goes against everything journalism seeks to be. Impartial? No. Accurate? No. Objective? No. Self-righteous, biased and sloppy? Yes.

    “Early in the Iraq War when Marines were getting blown up right and left at check points, Peter Jennings of ABC reported that Marines “allegedly” fired warning shots before shooting occupants of an approaching truck who would not yield to commands. Switching to NBC I experienced the same insulting “allegedly” rhetoric suggesting Marines were lying to us…

    I switched to FOX News which reported the story without using the epithet “allegedly” and I haven’t watched the networks sense.”

    The reason the word “allegedly” is used here is because journalists do not know whether these events have actually happened, as they are probably just receiving them from secondary sources and they have not been properly verified. Hence to state the news in factual terms might be potentially misleading unless the story has been properly verified to be true by enough sources.

    Unless FOX had any other information confirming beyond reasonable doubt that the incident had actually happened they too should have been using the words such as “allegedly” rather than reporting it in factual terms and potentially misleading their audience.

    Given the journalistically inept nature of FOX news coverage, I suspect that they did not have sufficient evidence.

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