Posted October 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm, in From Robert Reich
By Robert Reich
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley
Next Tuesday Americans will be deciding whether to hand over even more of our government to corporations that have been plundering America — such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wellpoint insurance, Massey Energy, and Halliburton, the giant oil services company.
Not every large corporation is irresponsible, of course, but plunderers that get away with it gain a competitive advantage over the more responsible, and thereby lead a race to the bottom.
Case in point: The staff of the presidential commission investigating the BP oil spill has just revealed that Halliburton executives knew the cement it was using to seal BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well was likely to be unstable but didn’t tell BP or act on the information.
In a letter to the commission’s seven members, the staff found that the failure of the cement was a key factor in the blowout that caused millions of barrels of crude oil to escape into the Gulf of Mexico. (Not the sole factor, of course; most of the blame for the disaster, says the staff, still rests with BP and Transocean, the company BP hired to drill the well.)
Halliburton has not exactly sat out this election. Last May, as Congress began investigating its role in the disaster, its political action committee made 14 contributions — 13 to Republicans and one to a Democrat. Many were involved in the investigation; others had responsibility for overseeing oil drilling in the Gulf. It was the biggest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008. (more…)