Oil companies continue to report major profit increases amidst rising prices for gas and oil. On Thursday, Exxon Mobil said it posted a $10.7 billion profit in the first quarter, a gain of 69 percent. Royal Dutch Shell earned $6.3 billion, up 30 percent. The news comes as the Venezuelan government has announced a new tax on oil companies’ windfall profits. The tax kicks in at 20 percent when oil hits $40 dollars a barrel, reaching up to 95 percent if oil tops $100 barrel. Venezuela says it expects to collect between $9 billion and $16.3 billion this year, with the money going to social programs. In a statement, the group Public Citizen called for a tax on oil companies’ windfall profits in the United States, saying: "Prices at the gas pump are jumping, even though the cost of drilling hasn’t changed … Big Oil is able to pocket the difference—at the direct expense of consumers."
Cold? Burn the rich!