by Rob in Baltimore - 2/14/2006 12:09:00 PM

You know, I wondered how ExxonMobil and other oil companies were able to generate record profits. Was it price fixing I wondered? Collusion? Nah, it's even easier. Our federal government is simply giving the oil to them for free. From the New York Times:

The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.

Read the rest of the article (if you're a registered reader of the paper) and you'll see how they try and blame Clinton for this giveaway. Here's a clue - 5 years of unfettered Republican control of both houses of Congress and the White House means if the law wasn't changed or updated, it's because Republicans don't want to, not because of some decision Bill Clinton made in the 1990s. What's next, blaming George Washington for military recruitment problems?