Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Outsourcing Halliburton would save $30B

In the wake of Halliburton's scandals in Iraq -- serving rotten food from filthy kitchens, contaminated water containing four times the fecal coliform bacteria considered safe, etc. -- Halliburton's defenders continue to insist that their company is the only company with the capability to feed and water soldiers in the Iraqi environment. Apparently, before Halliburton, our soldiers died of thirst and hunger because nobody else could do it.

What? You say that cooking food and supplying drinking water is not rocket science? You say that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was originally created to provide potable water to our troops? You say that in the old days, GI's did KP duty to peel potatoes, and the cooks were GI's too? Whoa! What a novel idea -- the U.S. Army feeding and watering itself, instead of having someone else do it for them! Why aren't we doing that today?!

Err, you wanna know why we aren't doing that today? Guess. Vice President Halliburton. But, you say, the Vice President doesn't tell the Pentagon what to do or not? No, but the Secretary of Defense does -- and Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush, and the man who originally outsourced the Army's mess halls and water supply contracting to Halliburton. In exchange, Halliburton gave him a cushy million-dollar-per-year salary to work for them as CEO once he "graduated" from government work -- typical Republican culture of corruption, in other words.

During peacetime this wasn't such a big deal. But we're at war, as the Busheviks are fond of reminding us. And people don't want to work in a war zone. You have to pay them big bucks to work in a war zone -- $150K or more, compared to $25K/year for a GI. And it takes the same number of people to peel a spud whether you have a GI doing it or a Halliburton employee doing it, so this basically means we're paying five times more money to Halliburton than would be required if this were un-outsourced back to the way it was during the Vietnam conflict.

Let's face it: a combat zone is no place for a civilian. We need GI's providing these services to GI's, not some sole-sourced monopoly. Not only are GI's paid less, but they are also trained to be able to shoot back when they get shot at. Sure, you don't want cooks and mechanics and stuff in combat if you can help it, but what part of "combat zone" do you not get?!

Oh, why I say we could save $30B/year in Iraq by un-outsourcing food, water, etc.: our tooth:tail ratio in Vietnam was approximately 1:12 (i.e., 1 combat soldier for every 12 support people making sure he had food, water, uniforms, etc.). Today, thanks to modern technology (which reduces the need for file clerks), it would be approximately 1:10. We have approximately 30,000 combat troops in Iraq, and a tooth:tail ratio of 1:4. That means the other 6 people are outsourced. So figure that we have 180,000 Halliburton employees in Iraq making sure that our guys are getting fed and watered and clothed (or not). 180,000*150K/year is 27 billion dollars. 180,000*25K/year is 4.5 billion dollars. So if we outsource Halliburton's job to the U.S. Army, we could save $22.5 billion per year in payroll alone! (And don't forget that Halliburton is skimming profit on top of that too, not to mention ridiculous markups on procurement items). $30 billion dollars is a MODEST estimate of what we could save if we outsourced Halliburton's job to the U.S. Army.

But I forget, that would require, like, actually caring more about our nation's well-being than about Halliburton's well-being. Gosh, what a heretical notion! Remember, you and I as taxpayers pay our taxes to make sure that Halliburton has nice profits, we don't pay our taxes to, like, benefit the United States of America and its people. Boy, glad we cleared that up!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 1/24/2006 02:30:00 PM  


yes you are full of heretical notions.

But they are true.


have you heard about
Penguin Awareness Day and World Penguin Day?
# posted by Ole Blue The Heretic : 24/1/06 7:26 PM  

Yep.. nothing like the almighty dollar and King George.....

# posted by Anonymous : 25/1/06 9:14 AM  

Those are all jobs that would give a soldier a skill when he returned to society. We can't have that. I used to repair the guidance control system on 4 different missiles. Don't you have one in your back yard that needs repairing? I need a job.

Of course if I had trained as a cook, I might have my own Food Network show.

Historically the Halliburton jobs were held by blacks, who are now no longer enlisting. Go figure.
# posted by Debra : 25/1/06 9:46 AM  

But, But, our young people don't join up to learn to peel 'taters!!! (not very many these days have ever)
# posted by SB Gypsy : 25/1/06 10:30 AM  

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