Exxon's profits sure to inspire the critics

Remember when Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) was the symbol of all that was evil in corporate America? Remember when people were pawning their jewelry to buy gas? Remember when politicians spoke of a windfall profits tax? Well, move over Wall Street, the largest publicly traded oil company is back again to grab some of the negative publicity.

The company reported $45.22 billion in profits last year, the largest ever for an American corporation. The results beat Exxon's previous record. Exxon spent $40 billion on dividends and share buybacks.