Business: Taxing Big Oil

A compromise on windfall

Exxon up 55%, Gulf up 68%, Mobil up 78%, Getty up 83%, Texaco up 106%. And on and on.

Once again it was time for Big Oil's profits parade. Against a backdrop of soaring gasoline costs and exploding heating-oil prices, one oil company after another last week went through the now familiar ritual of releasing eye-popping reports of annual earnings. Exxon's earnings on revenues of $84.3 billion totaled $4.3 billion, making it the most profitable corporation in American industry. Yet even as the announcements rolled in, Senate and House conferees were reaching final agreement on a compromise over a...

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