May 05, 2006
pot, meet kettle
Congress is outraged by the retirement package received by Exxon Mobil Corporation's former CEO Lee Raymond. I'll admit that the bundle of money Raymond takes away with him seems awfully damned generous to me, but so does this.
Talk about a sweet deal. It may not be as "exorbitant" as the millions Raymond got, but it's one hell of a lot better than what most civilians receive when they retire.
For example, defeated South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, 57, the former Democratic leader in the Senate, left Congress in January with an estimated pension of $121,233 and joined the Washington office of Atlanta-based Alston & Bird to provide strategic advice to the law firm's legislative and public policy clients.
Congress had better be careful with this dog and pony show about outrageous retirement packages for oil executives. Raymond led his company to $7 billion in profits last year. Congress led this country into deficit spending. Exxon provided an essential commodity for consumers. Congress provided... well, a bunch of dog and pony shows, most of them useless and expensive.
More importantly, Exxon paid Raymond with money it EARNED. Congress paid itself with YOUR tax dollars.
Pension payments for 400 retired lawmakers receiving benefits as of Oct. 1, 2004, totaled more than $19 million, according to the Office of Personnel Management. The National Taxpayers Union estimates that taxpayers will begin paying $1.5 million more in pension benefits this year to cover the 22 lawmakers who left Congress in January and qualified for immediate pension payments.
That's a serious chunk of change, especially for people who gnash their teeth about somebody else's retirement package. It may not be as much largesse as what Raymond received, but it sure ain't bad. It's a damn sight better than what I got after working for 23 years at the same place. In fact, it seems kinda "outrageous" to me.
At least I produced something other than bloviation and posturing when I worked, which is something MANY members of congress can't say-- at least not truthfully. Of course, a successful congressman never let the truth stand in the way of a good television sound-bite.
If this ain't a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is.
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