Thursday, April 13, 2006

$ 190,915...A Day's Pay?

So I woke up this morning in a really, really good mood. I picked up my Wall Street Journal and headed to my favorite coffee shop as I do most mornings. I picked my normal table, set up my little office away from home and settled in to enjoy my morning roast and read the stories of corporate giants that I one day hope to work with.

I quickly scanned the front page for interesting stories. I find the little summary they put on the front is really useful for this. Then I saw it!

EXXON CEO Lee Raymond received total compensation of $ 69.7 million for 2005, when the oil company had a record profit

What the hell? Record profit? In a time when oil is at an all time premium and I am paying nearly $ 2.70 at the pump. Surely this can't be I read on. In fact it was.

I am sure I am not the only American who cringes every time that I pull up to the pump. In fact, I make it my absolute must to stare blindly into the gas stations Happy Mobile Mart window to show my vast displeasure each and every time I fill up. Up until now, I have yet to have anyone come out and question this obvious displeasure and private protest.

When are we all going to wake up? I said nearly two years ago, if we don't collectively stand up and voice our displeasure with gas prices, they will continue to creep up and up. People protested when it hit $ 2.00 here in Austin. People went absolutely freaky when it hit $ 2.25. Then it went to $ 2.27 not a peep. It went to $ 2.35 and some minor grumblings but no main protest. Now we all absently pull up to the pump and pay or nearly $ 3.00 per gallon and take it. Sure it angers us but what can we do?

Think about it. The oil companies have adopted the Starbucks mentality. Why sell or reduce the gas prices when people will absently pay whatever you tell them to pay. At least at Starbucks you get a significantly better cup of coffee than say at Denny's. But is Exxon giving us any better gas than what they offered at $ 1.63 nearly 3 years ago?

They tell us that OPEC is the driving force in these high gas prices. Exxon maintains that they have to charge these ridiculous prices because their costs are so high. Well I call "bull*$@%!" You are paying $ 69.7 million (yes....$ 190,915/day) to your retiring CEO and guys like me are struggling to pay our nearly 60% increase in our gas bills! This is just plain wrong. In fact, I think it is criminal.

I believe that companies like Exxon that can outwardly and in this instance, boldly, continue to stick it to the American people should feel ashamed of themselves. I don't disagree that their outgoing CEO should have just compensation for his efforts. But in economic times when you and I are having a hard time dealing with an increase of nearly 50-60% in our fuel bill from this time just two years ago isn't right.

One thing is for sure....if we call continue to sit ideally by and take it, there is zero motivation for the companies to change. And with the continual trends, we likely will be well over $ 3-4 per gallon in the not too distant future. Then what kinds of ripples will our economy feel?

Now....what did I do with my scissors? I have an Exxon card in need of trimming!

Ripple On....

Steve Harper

1 comment:

kevin said...

steve, where do you think the capitalist breaks down here - supposedly the competition between oil companies would help bring down the price?