Politics & Policy

Halliburton Hot Air

Shareholders blow a hole in the Kerry-Edwards “big oil” rhetoric.

“To save for Halliburton the spoils of the war, they actually issued a memorandum from the Defense Department saying, ‘If you weren’t with us in the war, don’t bother applying for any construction.’” — John Kerry, first presidential debate, September 30, 2004

“On the $87 billion, it was clear at the time of that vote that they had no plan to win the peace. We’re seeing the consequences of that everyday on the ground right now. We stood up and said: For our troops, we must have a plan to win the peace. We also thought it was wrong to have a $20 billion fund out of which $7.5 billion was going to go to a no-bid contract for Halliburton, the vice president’s former company.” — John Edwards, vice presidential debate, October 5, 2004

Behind all of the Kerry-Edwards rhetoric about the Halliburton Corp. is an unstated and inaccurate presupposition: If Vice President Dick Cheney intervened on Halliburton’s behalf in the war in Iraq, which he did not, and if the company obtained from the government lucrative no-bid contracts, which it did not, and if the vice president retained any financial interest in Halliburton, which he did not, that still leaves the question of whether the Bush-Cheney administration has actually been beneficial to Halliburton’s owners. It has not.

The Bush-Cheney administration simply hasn’t helped Halliburton. Who says so? Halliburton’s shareholders.

The evidence directly contradicts the theory that Bush and Cheney are the “big-oil ticket” and that what’s good for big oil is good for Halliburton. This theory is based on an old canard that states that wars are not entered into for idealistic purposes or even in the interest of national security, but rather in the interest of war profiteers (literally war-mongers) who get rich on the blood of others and whose sons never … blah, blah, blah. You find this in the ancient Greek satirists who blame the Peloponnesian War on arms merchants. You find it when virtually every war of the modern age is laid at the feet of “Jewish bankers” who loan to both sides. This time, big oil’s to blame.

Democratic party sugar daddy George Soros says his favorite philosopher is Karl Popper. Just for fun, let’s use Popper’s ideas to test the big-oil/Halliburton/war-profiteer theory. According to Popper, theories should be valued based on their ability to accurately predict events. If your theory ends up predicting events that do not come to pass, then your theory should be discarded.

So, if you bought the John Edwards view of the world, then three and a half years ago when Bush won the election, wouldn’t you have also bought Halliburton stock? If you did, you got hurt. Since Bush’s inauguration, Halliburton’s shares have fallen 11 percent. To put things in perspective, other oil-related industries have risen roughly 36 percent in this time.

In other words, not only has the Bush-Cheney administration failed to make the owners of Halliburton richer, it has instead made them poorer. And they are significantly worse off than the owners of other oil-related companies who are doing well.

According to the shareholders — the people most in-the-know — the data could not be clearer: The Bush-Cheney administration has been bad for Halliburton.

– Jerry Bowyer is the author of The Bush Boom and an economic advisor to Blue Vase Capital Management. He can be reached through www.BowyerMedia.com.

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