being fleeced by big business
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Here in Australia and in America the energy companies are taking us all for a very expensive ride. Why do we unquestioningly accept being fleeced by big business? Gas and oil prices have gone through the roof and then some over the last 12 months. Yes, we have heard the excuses about the war in Ukraine but come on these companies are making record profits in the trillions and hundreds of billions of dollars. Inflation is at 7.2% in Australia, as of November 2022, and the Reserve Bank tips it to reach 8% by the end of the year. The cost of living for essential items like energy and food have gone up substantially. The RBA is raising interest rates to dampen demand within the economy.

being fleeced by big business

Huge Company Profits Driving High Inflation

However, recent reports out of America have shown that around 56% of every increased dollar on goods and services are due to increased company profits rather than other contributing factors. The lack of competition in sectors like the gas business mean that these corporations can increase their prices without fear.

This is called pricing power in economic terms and these companies are using the high inflationary environment to exert their pricing power. This is the market and capitalism screwing the vulnerable public for all its worth.

Gas Companies Making Billions At Our Expense

In Australia, we have sold off the rights to our minerals and gas for far too little in the current economic climate. Comparisons with Norway make us look like chumps and I wonder about the kickbacks to the state and federal politicians who made these really poor deals on our behalf. Many of these companies are paying no tax at all on massive profits. Our resources have been let go for a song and I would like to see some accountability.

“It means that foreign companies are making huge profits from Australian resources, without paying Australians anything for their use.

And these companies also pay little or no company tax — again because of their expert use of deductions.

Like US-owned ExxonMobil, owner of 25% of the Gorgon project. $15.5 billion in revenue in 2019-20. Taxable income: zero. Company tax: zero. PRRT paid: zero.

Or US-owned Chevron, owner of 47% of Gorgon, 64% of Wheatstone and 16.7% of the North-West Shelf. $15 billion in revenue. Taxable income: $169 million. Company tax: zero. PRRT: zero.

Or British-owned Shell, owner of stakes in NW Shelf, Gorgon and Prelude: $5.3 billion in revenue; zero taxable income, zero company tax, zero PRRT.

Woodside, at least, pays some tax: $11.1 billion in revenue, $3.1 billion in taxable income, $454 million in tax, no PRRT.

According to data sourced by the Greens, 28 gas companies collectively earning $77 billion in revenue and $482 million in taxable income paid no tax in 2019-20.”

  • Bernard Keane, Crikey, April 2022

No white collar criminals in Australia are ever prosecuted. The Banking Royal Commission saw no criminal prosecutions of individuals. The Robodebt Royal Commission is revealing that Scott Morrison was advised that it was illegal to proceed with the scheme but he did so anyway. I bet we won’t see any real accountability for the huge loss of public money and the destruction this scheme caused to human lives. Ordinary Australians always ultimately foot the bill for mistakes and economic disasters. Remember the GFC, no bankers went to gaol for that travesty either.

Will the Albanese government have the courage to actually do something or will they play it safe, as they have as part of the ALP’s strategy to get elected in the first place? Now is the time to get business to pay its share for the economic problems caused by the pandemic and natural disasters here in Australia. Why shouldn’t business pay its fair share? Why do we the general population have to always bear the brunt of economic downturns?

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