The Hastert Solution: Use Massive Oil Profits to Buy Ads For Oil Companies

House Speaker Dennis Hastert held a conference call yesterday with the oil industry’s top trade association, one day after Exxon posted a record $10 billion quarterly profit. According to his spokesman, Hastert pressed executives on lowering energy costs:

Hastert inquired about industry efforts “to create a stable supply of energy that will lower oil and home heating costs,” Hastert’s spokesman said. “What he wanted to convey to the [trade association] is making a profit is just fine … at the same time, though, American families have a bottom line to meet.”

The call, which lasted all of 10 minutes, probably didn’t make much headway. Here was Hastert’s big idea:

Hastert reiterated a request he made to ExxonMobil last year to take some profit “and use it to communicate to the American public about what [oil companies] are doing,” his spokesman said.

In other words, the solution to Americans’ anger over high gas prices is not to actually lower prices, but to get oil companies to spread more propaganda about why high prices are “just the marketplace at work.”