Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Art of Class Blowing

Let's say you work for WalMart or McDonald's. Your boss discovers that you lied on your time sheet about the number of hours you've worked. Over the course of 2 or 3 years, about 10% of the time you SAID you were at work, you weren't. What do you think your boss will do?

The most obvious repercussion is that you will be shown the door, fired! The company may file suit against you to recover the fraudulant wages you received. Even if you somehow manage to keep your job, you can be assured that future paychecks will be docked a percentage until every last penny you bilked from the company has been repaid in full.

Yes, that's the way the world works IF you are a working stiff, but it's NOT the way the world works if you happen to be a powerful, politically-connected corporation. According to The New York Times, Halliburton is being paid it's entire [no bid] contract by the Army despite the fact that over 10% of the work supposedly performed is disputed!
The Army has decided to reimburse a Halliburton subsidiary for nearly all of its disputed costs on a $2.41 billion no-bid contract to deliver fuel and repair oil equipment in Iraq, even though the Pentagon's own auditors had identified more than $250 million in charges as potentially excessive or unjustified.

The Army said in response to questions on Friday that questionable business practices by the subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, had in some cases driven up the company's costs. But in the haste and peril of war, it had largely done as well as could be expected, the Army said, and aside from a few penalties, the government was compelled to reimburse the company for its costs...auditors began focusing on the fuel deliveries under the contract, finding that the fuel transportation costs that the company was charging the Army were in some cases nearly triple what others were charging to do the same job.
Not only are they being reimbursed the full contract, but you can bet that they will be awarded more such contracts in the future. If you worked at WalMart or McDonald's, do you think they would gladly hire you back after you had defrauded them of wages?

11 comments:

  1. Most all companies have problems - large and small.

    I'm still waiting for that list of socialist corporations from you that are prospering, growing, hiring in the USA. To that list add perfect - without errors, without any mistakes.

    Tell ya what - I'll make it real easy on you. Just name 1.

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  2. So, according to Justadog, we should count ourselves lucky that it was only 10%. And that Halliburton isn't a "socialist corporation," whatever that is.

    Capitalism uber alles!

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  3. Actually Dog, I can name hundreds of companies that exist via the socialist concept of worker-ownership. Most neighborhood credit unions come to mind. WinCo Foods is employee-owned as is the Olympia Co-Op. If you can't think of any such companies yourself, I suggest you get out more often and look around your own neighborhood. Worker-owned businesses are everywhere!

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  4. Me thinks "justadog" doesn't have much to say to defend this position, so he sets up what he think is a straw man which as you show, is not so much straw at all. Talking in general about companies that "have problems" is irrelevant; the question is whether we the taxpayers should be paying companies with "problems" for work they might not have done. Taoist, I think your analogy is right on target. If you or I don't get are work done, most companies will not say "well you did the best you could under the circumstances." The simple fact here is that Haliburton is politically connected, and need not demonstrate that it's work is worth payment. Were this another dispute between say a company paying another company, you can bet there would be a court battle, and the accused company would almost certainly have to show proof they did what they were being paid to do. And yet Haliburton does not. Sorry "justadog", but that's pretty fishy to me.

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  5. Folks,
    I think we all need to do contract work for JustaDog. Since she realizes that "most all companies have problems", I'm sure she won't mind paying us 100% for 80-90% of the work. Just think about it. She can pay each of us for a 40-hour work week, even though we only need actually work for 32-36 hours.

    Sounds to me like a GREAT deal. So JustaDog, when can we start applying?

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  6. Hey, that's great! Instead of a 40 hour work week we could work 4 nine hour days and stay home on Fridays--all for the same pay. That's what 10% represents.

    I think I'll go to the store and offer to pay them 10% less for whatever I buy. I wonder if they'll go along with that, I'm a fairly nice person.

    On the other hand, maybe the stores can charge me 10% more than the price marked. They aren't "socialist corporations," after all, and deserve to overcharge me for their benefit.

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  7. Classic knee-jerk, polar thinking on Dog's part. Defenders of American capitalism ALWAYS spit out the, "So, you think Communism/Socialism is better?" because they can't articulate a real defense of the current U.S. system.

    I've been trying to shift the discussion away from the poles, towards considering the possibility, nay the likelihood that there might just be more than two possible forms of economy/government. I don't really have an answer, but there are a lot of smart people out there who can figure it out.

    Another, less radical, idea is to focus on the idea of thorough reform rather than breaking everything we have down and building something new. Kinda like the angle I take in discussions about alternative energy. The energy industry is quick to block development of alternatives because they feel threatened. These industries are actually very good at producing and distributing energy, so why not assuage their fears by giving them massive incentives to take the lead on developing energy alternatives?

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  8. Hey, Justadog is right. Peons like us are lucky to have jobs and we'd better just keep our mouths shut and quit causing trouble. Wal-Mart and Halliburton are fine upstanding companies, and we should be devoting all of our efforts to fighting terrorism. Uh oh, the terror alert level just went up again. Code Orange! We all need to rally around the President.

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  9. LOL

    I think we all need to do contract work for JustaDog

    What I do requires very high intelligence, which means no one here would even be qualified to shred my documents!

    Perhaps you'd be better qualified at WinCo or Wal-Mart!

    LOL

    BTW - Employee-owned companies are not socialist companies. Go buy a dictionary!

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  10. Wal-Mart and Halliburton are fine upstanding companies

    Well it is a fact that the Kennedys and the Clintons and the Kerrys and the George Soros's of the world are invested in the corporations you peons think are evil.

    If only you had a nano-gram of knowledge in investing strategies. My guess is most of you have no investments, and instead of bettering yourselves you probably attend every anti-Bush, anti-government, anti-capitalism, anti-death penalty, etc. event you can find.

    Carry on, LOL.

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  11. woof.
    Looks like your ol' pal JOD is back, liftin' her leg on whatever's handy. Funny thing about the reference to "evil" corporations, but I didn't find any reference to "evil" in the original post at all.

    Of course Clinton et al are invested in a lot of big corps, Dog. WTF does that have to do with the price of yak butter in Tibet?

    The point is that we are taught from day one in this country that free markets/free enterprise is the be all and end all of economic systems, and yet the ones preaching the loudest are the ones who wouldn't know a free market if it bit them in the ass. Note that Halliburton's contracts are NO BID, meaning no competition. It's just like in the old Commie USSR, where you got the gig if you were connected with the government.

    And notice that there's no accountability, which is supposed to be another tenet of free enterprise, right? The customer gets to dock the company if the company doesn't fulfill its promises. But not here. Halliburton can screw the country, screw the troops and screw the taxpayers, and there isn't a damn thing we can do about it.

    And they have people like you, sycophants all, running interference for them.

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