Sunday, April 16, 2006

All in a Day's Work

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Unless, of course, you're Lee Raymond, the Irving, Texas CEO of Exxon Mobil. Mr. Raymond is leaving Exxon and his golden parachute is worth $400 million. From 1993-2005, Mr. Raymond made $686 million, which amounts to a total of $144, 573 each and every day.

Raymond, you will recall, was one of the oil executives who may or may not have conferred with Vice President Dick Cheney on his 2001 Energy Task Force. He denied it before Congress, testimony which the Republican leadership made sure was not under oath. That same congress (whose members earn an average annual salary of $165,200) also scoffed at the concept of a windfall tax on Exxon Mobil's $36 billion profit (a profit, mind you, greater than the GDP of more than half the world's nations.) Of course, you can bet the Republican Party, and to a lesser extent the Democratic Party, too, have seen a bit of that largesse. But what's a million here or there when you have the Bush-Cheney cabal to make your dreams reality? The energy bill of 2005 was such a corporate give-away, critics have deemed it the "No Oilman Left Behind Act." That's what the board of Exxon no doubt would consider a good investment.

As far as oil dependency, Raymond has some advice for America. Better get used to it. Global climate change? Raymond is from the Ronald Reagan school of science -- blame it on the plants. Concerns over drilling in the Arctic National Refuge? See Ted Stevens, he'll be happy to explain. In a business hardly known for its tree-huggers, Raymond stands out, unwilling to concede an inch no matter how many people prove him wrong. Kind of reminds you of some other Texans we know, doesn't it?

But back to that corporate compensation package. It isn't all sweetness and light. Even though Bush's tax cuts mean that Mr. Raymond can keep millions more than he might have, he'll still need a few tax breaks. May we suggest a charity?

How about the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund? This group is building a rehabilitation center at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston to assist wounded soldiers from Iraq or Afghanistan (average daily combat pay bonus $7.50). Or maybe the Fallen Patriot Fund? Established by our own Mark Cuban-- who earned his billions the hard way, by founding a company-- this fund awards grants to families who have lost soldiers in the war. Mark will even match you dollar for dollar up to one million. Too depressing? Well, there is the Texas Military Family Foundation, run by Julie Curtis-Win, who provides soldiers departing Fort Hood things they won't easily find at the front. It would be only fair to send them a little something, considering we sent these folks to war to project our military might over the oil fields of the Middle East.

We launch an illegal war against Saddam Hussein, thousands die and oil moguls get rich. Iraq's oil production is lower now than it was before the war, Iraqis suffer, and oil moguls get rich. Bush sounds the drumbeat of war in Iran, markets get the jitters and oil moguls get rich. Obscenely rich. In today's corporate welfare system, charity begins at home.

1 comment:

Bradley Bowen said...

Thanks for the links. I think it's incredibly important to get involved with these charities considering the Bush administration sent them to war and then forgot about them.