Big Oil Continues to Rake in Record Profits
August 1, 2008
Washington, DC—Senate Democrats responded today to a Department of Labor report which indicates that the nation shed another 51,000 jobs in July – the seventh straight month of losses – as unemployment rose to a four-year high of 5.7 percent and Chevron announced a second-quarter profits of nearly $6 billion. Democrats also called attention to the disproportionately higher unemployment rate among Hispanic American workers.
According to the Department of Labor report, the unemployment rate among Hispanics was 7.4 % last month. The disproportionately higher jobless rate among Latinos underscores the urgent need to strengthen the economy.
“This week has made it crystal clear that the only ones doing well in the Bush-McCain economy are oil company executives,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said. “As we pay more than ever to fill our tanks and to heat and cool our homes, Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron all announced billions in new profits – including the highest single-quarter take in history. Meanwhile, American jobs continue to disappear, millions have seen their full-time jobs cut to part-time work and unemployment has reached a four-year high. It is disturbing that none of this news seems to concern Bush-McCain Republicans. While employers have cut jobs for seven straight months, Republicans have blocked at least seven of our efforts this year to create good-paying jobs here at home by investing in alternative, renewable energy sources.”
Hispanic families are being squeezed by rising expenses. Median Hispanic family income is lower than median family income overall, so rising costs eat up larger share of their family budgets. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2006, Hispanic families saw median family income fall by 0.8 percent, to $41,147, a loss of $334. Since 2000, the average price of gasoline has increased 145 percent to $4.06 per gallon, the average family health insurance premium has jumped 41 percent to $11,765, and the average cost of child care for two children is now $1,041 per month.
“With the price of food and fuel skyrocketing, Americans, and Latinos in particular, are being squeezed at the pump and the supermarket as they bear the burden of a struggling economy,” Senator Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) said. “Once again the Latino unemployment rate is higher than that of the rest of the population, while oil company profits are higher than they’ve ever been in history. Democrats have a plan to lower gas prices, break our dependence on oil, stop federal handouts to oil companies and ultimately create jobs. But Republicans are fighting vigorously to aid and protect the oil companies when it’s the American people and hardworking Latinos who need us to fight for them. Oil companies have had almost eight years of an administration that’s held their hand. It’s time for a government that holds them accountable.”
Reid added: “Democrats know America cannot afford for this streak to continue any longer, which is why we will continue working to strengthen our economy in the short-term and address the long-term economic problems hurting America’s middle class. We will propose new legislation to jumpstart our economy and continue our effort to invest in clean energy, both of which will create good-paying jobs here in America. We hope that Bush-McCain Republicans will finally do more than offer the same failed fiscal and foreign policy strategies that got us into this mess in the first place.”
The Congressional Joint Economic Committee released a fact sheet today on the economic situation of Hispanic American families. To see the full report click here.
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