In Defense Of Exxon

A House GOP leadership aide said that Hastert also responded to calls for hearings into the pay package for Lee Raymond, who retired as Exxon Mobil’s chief executive in January. According to a recent proxy filing by the company, Raymond received $48.5 million in salary, bonuses and incentive payments last year; exercised more than $20 million in stock options in 2005; and in January received a lump-sum retirement payment of $98.5 million. The proxy said that after 43 years of service, Raymond had accumulated $183 million of stock holdings plus stock options worth a net of about $69 million at current share prices.

“The speaker is very concerned about compensation packages given to executives like Raymond at a time when families are facing choices between putting food on the table and filling their car with gasoline,” Bonjean said. “We met with Exxon Mobil and several companies last fall, and it seems that the message hasn’t gotten through.”

Exxon had said that Raymond’s package was in keeping with his performance as chief executive over the past 12 years, when the company’s earnings soared to record levels.

“Having a profit is good. We believe in that as Republicans,” Bonjean said. “But when you’re making this kind of money and American families are being affected, there should be appropriate things done to bring prices down. We’re going to be asking them again: What are they doing with their enormous profits?”

Gas prices get high in an election year and next thing you know, you have Dennis Hastert doing his best Lenin impression. Since when are Republicans worried about what companies are doing with their “enormous profits” and the “compensation packages given to executives?” What business does anyone in Congress even have getting involved in something like that?

Listening to politicians in Washington complain about how much money a corporation like Exxon makes is like an enormous, bloated tick complaining that the Cocker Spaniel it’s attached to is using too much blood. The truth is that if you add in the state gas tax, the Federal gas tax, and the enormous taxes Exxon and its employees pay out, you’ll find out that the government drives up the cost of gas far more than any profits Exxon takes, even at $3.00 a gallon plus.

Yet, they’re mad that Lee Raymond is making “too much money.” Because I’m not running for anything, I can tell you the unvarnished truth, which is that Lee Raymond is probably UNDERPAID. The guy has been the chief executive of Exxon for 12 years and just last year they made a $36 billion dollar profit (which incidentally, is only a 9.7% profit). Considering how much money he has helped them make over the years, if they paid Raymond a billion dollars, it wouldn’t be too much.

See, you’re not supposed to say that though. Nobody likes oil companies. Nobody likes rich people. People are mad about how much they’re paying at the pump. But look, folks, we live in a world where Derek Jeter can get paid $189 million dollars to play baseball for 10 years and top Hollywood actors can make $20 million plus per film. So, why shouldn’t Raymond be able to make a bundle for running a company the size of Exxon? Just because it turned out that gas prices were extremely high when he retired? Please!

Lee Raymond deserves the giant pile of cash he’s going receive, but he doesn’t deserve the cynical carping from the politicians or the petty jealousy of people who are envious of his success. America is much better off because of high achievers like Lee Raymond and more people should recognize that fact instead of gnawing at his ankles in envy.

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