• This ExxonMobil pay package thing landed me in a heap of controversy.

    Trust me, I'm not an apologist for big oil. I don't own a single share of ExxonMobil stock. In fact, not a single share of any energy company stock.

    But I do have a stake in something called "capitalism."

    It's a system that has its extremes, but a system to which I have as yet to find a better alternative.

    I know Lee Raymond's 400 million is a lot of smackers. But keep in mind, most of that is in stock, and restricted grants, and a lot of that was given over the course of Raymond's 43-year career.

    Also keep in mind, Exxon is the most profitable company on the planet and that during Raymond's stewardship, Exxon made hundreds of billions of dollars. Some might even say, his pay is but a drop in a very big oil bucket.

    The stock grew more than five-fold — almost tripling the performance of the Dow.

    Now, some say because Mr. Raymond's company makes a product vital to us all, his salary should be trimmed. I say, that's a slippery slope. You could say the same of biotech and drug companies. Should their CEOs' pay also be trimmed?

    Be careful what you wish for.

    All I know is I just came back from France where they're protesting the kind of free-market capitalism we practice in this country.

    I'd rather be more like us, with all our excesses, than like them, with all their problems.

    Here we can work to be Lee Raymonds. There, they're too afraid to even try.

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