Gut Rumbles

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.

Former Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, R-La., 61, the former chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce with jurisdiction over the drug industry, retired in January with an estimated pension of $85,726 and now heads the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America at a salary reported to be almost $2 million.

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.


After thinking about this, I have to ask, "Why do people in Congress get a pension at all?" Aren't they supposed to be public servants who serve a few years in Congress then go home to jobs?

Oh - right.

Maybe we should begin a Porkbusters-style movement to repeal Congressional pensions.

Posted by: Juan Paxety on May 5, 2006 09:29 AM

Wednesday morning, when Matt Lauer asked Rex Tillerson (Exxon Mobil's CEO) about whether he thought Lee Raymond's compensation was excessive, they showed a picture of Raymond that Jay Leno had used on his show, a picture that he had used to compare Raymond to Jabba the Hutt.

Yeah, the picture does look like Jabba the Hutt. Lee Raymond is no male model, but that's the most unflattering, nastiest-looking picture I've ever seen, and the fact that they used it in a news segment the way they did is beneath contempt.

(Although if *I* had $400 mil, I'd be gettin' myself some chin liposuction.)

Posted by: Elisson on May 5, 2006 09:42 AM

So, following your logic, two wrongs make a right? And why do you site a Democrat? God knows, you have a bevy of Republican senators that have been charged with corruption. Just wondering.

I think that we, as Americans, must get more involved and more INFORMED about how our money is spent.


Posted by: Gene on May 5, 2006 07:57 PM
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