Exxon Is Showing Us Exactly Who It Cares About

Exxon CEO Darren Woods (second from right) clapping at the New York Stock Exchange because money.Photo: Richard Drew (AP)Exxon is a known corporate miscreant, and nothing it does to preserve profits should come as a surprise anymore. And yet.In the face of a crippling pandemic and job crisis, the company has decided to do what…

Exxon Is Showing Us Exactly Who It Cares About

Exxon CEO Darren Woods (second from right) clapping at the New York Stock Exchange because money.Photo: Richard Drew (AP)Exxon is a known corporate miscreant, and nothing it does to preserve profits should come as a surprise anymore. And yet.In the face of a crippling pandemic and job crisis, the company has decided to do what it does best: maximize shareholder value. A Reuters exclusive report on Thursday said the company is hellbent on paying out dividends to shareholders, and as part of a scheme to do so, it’s reportedly considering job and spending cuts. The company denied it, though Reuters pointed to circumstantial evidence the oil behemoth has been laying the groundwork that could make it easier to fire people based on performance metrics late last year as the pandemic worsened.And really, would it be that surprising? The only thing that matters to Exxon is making rich people more money. It lied about climate change for decades and put the entire biosphere at stake. Laying off a few thousand workers in the middle of a pandemic so it can pay out shareholders as promised is like a picnic in the park for the company. Nevertheless, it neatly illustrates a few key points about this moment in time.The first is that Big Oil is struggling mightily. Since the coronavirus ripped around the world and has stubbornly clung in the U.S. thanks to wildly incompetent and malevolent leadership, the economy has crashed. Unemployment is sky-high, the U.S. has seen its slowest economic growth rate eve
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