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Excessive Executive Bucks

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
With the price of a barrel of oil hovering around $70 a barrel, I think perhaps it's time I became an oil company executive.

Lee Raymond, the Exxon Mobil CEO who just retired, is said to be hauling home about $400 million. That's a lot. I know he deserved it, and today the Wall Street Journal was defending it, but, that's still a lot of money. Not even ballplayers get paid that much, or Madonna.

$400 million is otherworldly. It's so close to a half billion it's not even funny. Who gets paid a half a billion dollars? Oops, I forgot — other CEOs. And all you have to do, I hear, is make your stock go up.

If people like your stock, they pay more for it and in turn, you make more money.

Of course there are some CEOs who watch their stock go down. They get a lousy $100 million for their hard work. What an embarrassment. Could you imagine being a CEO who gets canned and only gets $100 million? How would face your friends?

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.