The big business news of the day Thursday was Big Oil. More specifically, it was the fact a Chinese oil company surpassed Exxon Mobil as the world's largest publicly traded oil producer.
PetroChina claims it pumped 2.4 million barrels of oil per day last year, surpassing Exxon by 100,000 barrels.
The company - as one might guess, it was created by the Chinese government to secure more oil for that country - was No. 11 on a 2011 list of the world's largest public and private businesses as ranked by gross revenue.
That list is informative. The top 10 oil and gas companies on it had combined gross revenues last year topping $2.78 trillion.
Remember that number.
Add the aggregate gross revenues of the next 10 largest oil and gas companies, and the number rises to $3.86 trillion. That means the world's top 20 oil and gas companies had their collective hands on $3.86 trillion last year.
Now note that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2011, the U.S. government spent a total of $3.83 trillion. Actual revenues - the amount brought in by taxes, etc. - were about $2.56 trillion. The difference was added to the national debt.
The next time someone rants about oil and gas companies bleeding people dry, recall just how much the federal government has been raking in and doling out.