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Examining Exxon

August 08, 2008

Re "Give Exxon a break," Aug. 1

Apparently you were not being facetious about giving Exxon Mobil a break. Exactly why does it need a break? Taking all that money to the bank will weigh the company down, no doubt, but it's doing the best it can by distributing profits to shareholders, so we needn't worry about the cash becoming too big a burden. Can you imagine what good could come from using some of those funds to promote alternative fuels?

Exxon undoubtedly is grateful to The Times for its expressed understanding, even sympathy.

Melvin Mandel

Pacific Palisades

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You defend Exxon's profits this quarter on the basis that increasing the price of success through higher taxes would lead to less risk-taking and innovation. The proper argument against increasing Exxon's corporate taxes is the right to property, not innovation.

What right has the government to determine what is an appropriate profit for a company to generate? Why do we take for granted that successful companies must atone for the sin of wealth creation by relinquishing half of what they create? Exxon's profits belong to Exxon just as much as GM's $15.5-billion loss this quarter belongs to GM. Both firms have the right to, and should be responsible for, their results.

Protecting property rights means we all get to keep the benefits of our success. Losing the former will ensure we see a lot less of the latter.

Ryan Krause

Arlington Heights, Ill.

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