"In every aspect of life, including the economic dimension we are always challenged to do the right thing. We have seen that in this country in the last few years, particularly on Wall Street, with the rise of the old human frailty of greed. This occurs when people serve their own needs to the detriment of everyone else. To counter such trends, we must work to become not just players or owners but also stewards of the free market system." Thus spoke Lee Raymond to the Acton Institute in 2003. In April 2006 he is cashing in $356,000,000. in salary and retirement benefits. This with gas prices flirting and surpassing $3.00 a gallon. Or as Sharlene Bonano manager of Gotham Limousine in New York exploded "That's disgusting. That's just coming out of our pockets. I'm outraged because fine you do a good job. Okay you get a bonus. The NYPD puts their life on the line for 20 years. They get a fake gold watch, a thank you and a cute little pension".
Or Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, "Oh my God! It's like a travesty of justice. He is basically profiting off the misery of working people. That's what it comes down to." One could go on. The reactions and disgust seem endless.
Most damning of all is that the free market system to which Mr. Raymond pledges such fealty had little to do with his company's egregious profits permitting his astronomical payout. Quite to the contrary as readers to my previous blogs will understand ("Exxon-Mobil Now Huckstering Bottled Water", 2/15/06; "Oil Company Profits and Our National Security", 1/26/06; "Taxing Oil's Monopoly Profits", 3/18/06 ). The oil markets more than doubling of prices over the last couple of years, the quintupling of prices over the last six years, were all orchestrated by the OPEC Cartel with the cheerleading and public relations blitz led by Exxon-Mobil and its sister companies and the oil patch in general.
Exxon Mobil produces some 2.5 million barrels of oil a day in various locations in the U. S. and around the world. Just in the last two years with prices escalating some $35/ barrel from circa $30 a barrel to over $65 a barrel today the daily gain to Exxon-Mobil is over $85 million dollars a day or over $30 billion a year.
Were Raymond to collude with the OPEC Cartel in their ongoing game of disinformation and controlling production to manipulate prices instead of simply being their quiescent cheerleader and goodwill ambassador to our Government he would be collecting his pension from behind bars.
So much for this stalwart protector of the free market and his admonishments on the greed of others.
The oil industry is running away with our future. Mr. Raymond is but one manifestation of the plague that has descended on us. We need action and we must demand action now, before it is too late. My thoughts on what needs be done to follow.