by Jacob Freeze
Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 12:11:38 PM EST
If you think capitalism lacks the sort of supernatural mystery that distinguishes religions from other human constructs, you probably never heard of the the invisible hand, which Adam Smith postulated to explain how "every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can."
Without quibbling about the exact meaning of "annual revenue," we can take it to mean the sum of all payments, and observe that more and more is bought and sold in the United States in almost every succeeding year, and likewise with our capitalistic brethren in other countries.
So our economic demiurge is easier to detect than its supernatural counterparts in other religions, even when it slips into deeper obscurity under the grand table where all the CEO's of our booming economy are gathered. I can't see exactly what goes on under that table, but it's easy to deduce from the rapture on so many faces that the invisible hand is jerking off the bosses.
They do not sow, neither do they reap, and yet Solomon in all his glory never had a retirement package like the CEO of Exxon. $400,000,000! No wonder Lee R. Raymond is grinning like an idiot!
And it doesn't take much more than an idiot to make a mountain of money for Exxon, in a world where the price of oil has quadrupled in the last six years. But economics has a logic of its own, and the invisible hand is obviously giving Lee R. Raymond a heck of a handjob!
Those same semi-divine fingers are also busy with Edward Lampert, who made $1,020,000,000 last year at the hedge-fund ESL Investments. That's a salary of 1.02 billion dollars!
A little credit for Lampert's gratification should also be reserved for the tax code, which taxes hedge-fund managers at the delightful rate of 15%.
For some lucky CEO's, the invisible hand never stops diddling, and all that non-stop action has apparently frozen a permanent smile on the face of Jeffrey C. Barbakow.
USA Today calculated that even if Mr. Barbakow worked 14 hours per day 365 days per year, he would still be making $22,785 per hour at Tenet Healthcare. It takes balls as big as watermelons to grab a $116,000,000 slice of the healthcare pie, especially when 47,000,000 Americans have no pie at all!