Well, you happened to pick three privately owned companies whose profits aren't openly known. I'd venture to guess that the profit margins you suggest taking would be about the same or a little higher profit margin than Exxon's 10%. Harman certainly is higher than 10% (at least once you take out their new factory expense). Alaska and Keystoker are much smaller companies, but I'd guess they both operate at around 10% net profit margins, maybe a little bit less. I have no insider information to support this, just my independent understanding of the business and what it takes to stay afloat for as long as they've been running.
What's this money get used for? If publicly owned: buy back of stock, payout of dividends, etc. Privately owned: finance stock hold back for an IPO, payout of profit sharing to equity holders, etc. In any company: If an especially good year, bonuses and employee profit sharing. Buffer for next year's salary increases and next year's insurance, tax, and employment overhead increases. Safety net for fire and flood recuperation, emergency hiring of additional employees, covering downturns in the market or missed sales goals, paying off principle debt, etc. 10% is definitely in the range of average, responsible profit margins and any company would gladly make it if they are lucky enough to be able to make that much. Certainly the past few years have been difficult for a number of businesses, but just because that's the case doesn't mean oil companies like Exxon should be expected and certainly not forced (through a poorly, misleadingly named "windfall profits tax") to operate at lower profit margins.
I sometimes wonder if people have the slightest clue how expensive and risky it is to own and run a company like Exxon. They're engaged in some of the most costly and risky work in the world. Their product is priced on the global market, open to market manipulation (OPEC, Chavez, the Ruskies, Chinese currency fixing, the Iranians, speculators, major players like Soros, etc.) and the pricing volatility that is inherent in a commodity businesses, to say nothing of the political whims of the major producer and consumer nations' governments. Even small companies are highly risky, relatively expensive ventures that are often all consuming to those that take on the challenge. The level of personal responsibility, liability, time, investment, and ego that is embodied in such a venture is staggering.
Consider the whims of governments for a second here. Major oil companies have had to literally eat the expense of building up the oil infrastructure of entire nations when those nations reneged on drilling and production deals by nationalizing the industry, after the exploration, test drilling, training, and capital investment was already made. Now these companies are faced with some pissant congresscritters trying to get their hyper liberal constituents' rocks off by threatening to nationalize the industry here in the US!? I don't know how those CEOs held it together when that was floated before them at that hearing last week. I would have stroked out then and there if I were them.
Imagine this, "The anthracite coal and coal stove industry is making too much money. People are suffering, having to choose between heat, food, and medicine. We can wait no longer for these greedy companies that are financially raping our people with their windfall 10%, 12% and even 15% profits, people desperate for relief from high energy and heating prices. We can wait no longer for these companies to do the right thing. We must act now. I, Governor Rendell, hereby sign into law the '2008 Energy Relief Act' tasking the state taxation bureau with taxing all anthracite coal related business at the rate of 100% for all profits above 2% of revenue. We respect our in state energy producers and appliance manufacturers and appliance dealers/installers, but they have not respected us. None the less, I did not take this step lightly, but ultimately I've decided it is for the greater good of our people and our state. This financial windfall being sapped from the pocketbooks of our people will no longer be countenanced by this government. The legislature has spoke, I have spoken, the people have spoken. ... I'll take some questions now."
Amazingly, what was suggested in that congressional hearing last week, or the week before, was even more draconian than that. It was something that could have been straight out of Chavez's, Castro's, or Lenin's lips. To hear it uttered by a couple of elected congresspersons was deeply unsettling.