Poor Little Rich Man …

Question for you, dear friends:  If you are a billionaire and you own a successful oil refinery, among other things, how can you possibly be said to have a ‘financial hardship’?  Think on that one and let me know if you come up with an answer, for Filosofa is stymied.

Carl Icahn is an American businessman and investor.  If you look him up, you will find that he is also said to be a philanthropist, but I find almost no instances of actual philanthropy.  He benefitted from his reputation as a corporate raider in the 1980s when he helped engineer the hostile takeover and asset-stripping of Trans-World Airlines (TWA).

Carl Icahn’s latest estimated net worth is $17.7 billion.  For perspective, that is $17,700,000,000.  At least, I think that’s the right number of zeros.  Despite a lifetime spent in public and private accounting, I never really worked with numbers incorporating so many zeros.  But back to the point … Carl Icahn is one of the wealthiest people in the nation … in the world.  Think George Soros is wealthy?  His net worth is about one-half that of Icahn’s.  Last year, Icahn was named 26th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes magazine.

Now, Mr. Icahn is the major shareholder in CVR Energy, an oil refinery located in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.  Last year, 2017, CVR posted net earnings of $234.4 million.  So, you with me here?  The man is rich … filthy rich … and he owns lots of businesses, one an oil refinery that is doing very well … net earnings in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

CVR refinery

CVR Refinery – Oklahoma

Now for the kicker … the Environmental Protection Agency under the direction of another millionaire, Scott Pruitt, has granted Icahn’s company, CVR Energy, a financial hardship waiver from compliance with fuel standards regulations.  A financialhardship … waiver.  Please forgive me for what I am about to say, and I don’t say it on this blog often, but WTF???

It might help explain things a bit if we remember that Icahn was an advisor to Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign, and served as a ‘special regulatory advisor’ in the Trump administration, but stepped down last August in light of charges of conflict of interest, as he spent his time attempting to change biofuel policies.  In fact, Senator Tammy Duckworth asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation on Icahn last August. He is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for his efforts to influence biofuel policies to benefit his own company.

Icahn-Trump

Icahn & Trump go waaaaayyy back!

Now, we all remember that Trump is doing his best to rescind or roll back every single regulation that was put into place under the Obama administration, right?  But this … RFS – Renewable Fuel Standards – is a regulation put into force by the EPA in 2005 under the Energy Policy Act.  Who was president in 2005?  Why, I do believe it was republican George W. Bush!!!  The bill was overwhelmingly supported by members of Congress from both parties.

RFS requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels.  I will not bore you with details that my science-challenged mind** does not fully comprehend, but the goal is to cut air pollution, reduce petroleum imports and support corn farmers by requiring refiners to mix billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline and diesel each year.  The purpose of the financial hardship waiver is to protect small refineries for whom the cost of compliance with RFS would create such a burden that it could even put them out of business.  Such is not the case with CVR.  However, CVR has applied for the waiver every year for the past several years, and until this year, has always been denied.  In fact, until last year, only 8 waivers were approved each year, but under Scott Pruitt’s EPA, approximately 25 per year are being approved.

Andeavor, one of America’s biggest refining companies, which reported about $1.5 billion in net profit last year, is among the other companies that have received hardship waivers from Trump’s/Pruitt’s EPA for small refineries.  I wonder if that ‘alternative vocabulary’ that Kellyanne told us about in January 2017, has re-defined the word ‘small’?

CVR estimates that the cost of compliance with RFS would run to about $80 million for fiscal 2018.  Let’s see … $80 million from their $234.4 million net profit … would still leave them a net profit of $154.4 million.  Excuse me, but from where I sit, with a net income of under $7,000 per year, that really doesn’t sound like what I would define as ‘hardship’.  Especially for the 26th wealthiest man in the world!

If you have ever had any doubts that this nation has become a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy, for the wealthy and of the wealthy, you can probably shelve those doubts now.  And if you were unclear about how much value the Trump administration places on protecting our environment, I think this should clarify matters nicely for you.  “What can I do?”, you ask.  Vote these greedy republicans out of office on November 6th. It may be your last chance to make a difference, to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.

** An interesting side note:  In doing research for this post, trying to wrap my non-scientific mind around the concept of ‘biofuels’, I found a reference link to the EPA’s Energy Information Agency.  The page has been removed from the EPA’s website.  Hmmmm … 🤔

20 thoughts on “Poor Little Rich Man …

  1. I have to wonder if all of this is part of the “Make America Great Again” program? Seems to be working well for Trump and his Minions…for most Americans, not so much. Trump will never notice the little guys, he’s too busy walking over them. Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right … nothing Trump has done was actually intended to help us, but only himself and his wealthy cronies, such as Carl Icahn. But somehow, there is still a large contingent that thinks he is the greatest thing to happen to this nation. I don’t get it … I just don’t get it.

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  2. I had read in several places that Capitol Hill was being run by devotees of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. I like to understand where the other side is coming from so I started reading a copy. I’ve only read 5 chapters of the first part. From the little I’ve read, my head is whirling and I’m sick to my stomach. I’ve come to terms that unfortunately, 45’s election into office is just a by-product of where our society has set its priorities. These men are a great example of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I read the book when I was a teenager, but of course didn’t fully comprehend it at that time. You are stronger than I, for i don’t think I could stomach reading it now. Between Arab Spring, and it’s by-product, the populist movement, the world is becoming a tinderbox. Let us hope some fool doesn’t throw a lit match.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jill,

    This is corporate welfare at its worst. Republicans are in swamp heaven. Yet, we both know that the only reason those greedy republicans haven’t tackled entitlement programs is because this is an election year.
    I am willing to bet that this refinery employees have not been blessed with a significant pay increase. Mr. Icahn is the poster child for the greedy selfish rich moocher of this economy.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are so right … once the November elections are over, if democrats don’t take a majority in one of both chambers of Congress, you can bet they will start making massive cuts to programs that help the poor and even middle income families. There is no conscience in Congress and we just have to inject some fresh, new blood in November!
      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, Gronda, I remember Icahn from the 1980s. Then, he was a leveleraged buyout practitioner. In essence, by a vulnerable company using huge amounts of debt. The bought company would have to lay off a lot of employees or sell parts of the company. Think Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko.

        Now, he invests in 5% of the company and wants a Board seat. He then will make huge demands on management to pare down expense (usually fire employees). Usually the company leadership will tire of him and sell the company

        Giving welfare to a man who has led to the demise of hundreds of thousands of employees reeks. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is why we really must flip at least the House in Nov. If Repubes win everything again, they’ll see it as a mandate to destroy our earned benefits pronto and give all the money folks like I have put into that program for 40 years to the rich. That will not be a good thing.

      Liked by 3 people

        • I know. It’s sad how hard that is to do, even with all this nonsense going on. Wave a bible, a gun and a flag, and you’ll motivate enough people to vote for you to win no matter what you really plan to do when you do. Talk sense and try to speak of equality and peace, and you inspire mockery and apathy from some of the very people you wish to help. Sorry statement, I feel, on the state of our educational system in America. People aren’t taught to THINK anymore. UGH!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think that for many it is a sense of … hopelessness? A sense that nothing will change no matter what they do, so why bother. And I see that as a big challenge, but the bigger one is to help people understand what is happening vs what needs to happen, and how they can play a role, how they CAN make a difference. Of course the Trump supporters have no such problems … they are already fueling their cars for the trip to the polls.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, what is overlooked by the media focus on the dishonorable activities of the White House incumbent is the policies – the tax plan catering to the rich, the peeing on environmental protections, the failure to shore up and improve the ACA which he now owns, the protectionism that will harm the global economy (of which we are a key part), the attack on civil rights, the attack on the media, etc. This man’s bombastic words about protecting the little guy are merely that “bombastic words.” Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very true, and the really sad part is that ‘the little guy’ in far too many cases still thinks DT is his saviour. We need to wake this nation up … what’s it take, I wonder?

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  5. We simply need to end this welfare system we have here in America for the rich. Are you rich? Do you need a government handout of some kind to help you with your business? OK, here you go! Here’s a few million in tax payer dollars to help you, you poor, poor rich little bugger, you. “Hey! Look over there! Those are homeless people begging for food. The dirty bastards! Someone call 911 and have them arrested. It’s just disgusting that we rich folk have to breath the same air as the homeless. Awful, I tell ya’! Now, gimme more government tax breaks at the expense of the poor and middle class! Hurray!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • You hit the nail on the head, my friend! A few more years and the poor and homeless will have starved to death and the rich can have the world they always wanted. But … oh wait! Who will build their fine mansions, manufacture their luxury cars, and most importantly … who will grow their food, for they darn sure don’t want to get dirt under their fingernails! Uh-oh … perhaps a glitch in their plan? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am far wealthier than he… I have gold in the sun, silver in the stars and, while having a sandwich in my hand, should I encounter some creature hungry, I do not share but give the creature the whole sandwich… 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

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