Holy Price Gouging, Batman!

Exxon Mobil Corp. on Thursday posted a quarterly profit of $9.9 billion, the largest in U.S. corporate history, as it raked in a bonanza from record oil and gas prices. That’s a 75% increase in profits from this quarter last year.

Now, assuming the American version of Billion, which is the cardinal number equal to 109, or One thousand times one million (10 to the 9th power)…then what that $9.9Billion dollar number means is that Exxon is making one hundred ten million dollars a day. In profit.

Not far behind them in the profiteering was Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN), who had profits up 68% from the third quarter of 2004, driven by high oil prices and the sale of assets despite damage from U.S. hurricanes. For the three months ended Sept. 30, Shell reported net profit of $9.032 billion, compared with $ 5.371 billion for the same period last year.

While on the topic of all things usurious, let’s discuss the pay ratio of CEOs to worker bees, shall we? The ratio of average CEO pay (now $11.8 million) to worker pay (now $27,460) spiked up from 301-to-1 in 2003 to 431-to-1 in 2004. If the minimum wage had risen as fast as CEO pay since 1990, the lowest paid workers in the US would be earning $23.03 an hour today, not $5.15 an hour.

As an example, Lee R Raymond, the CEO of Exxon had a total compensation package of $25.8 million last year. (Which, by the way, was not enough to score him a spot in the top ten paid executives, but he did score in the top 15.)

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