In the last week two news items caught my attention. News Item No. 1: dateline Abu Dhabi -- The Louvre Museum is selling the use of its name for a museum in Abu Dhabi for $520 million, and will rent out some of its art exhibits and provide technical museum management services for another $747 million.
News Item No. 2: dateline Dubai -- the Halliburton Corporation is moving its worldwide corporate headquarters to the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai. It will keep most of its staff in its Houston, Texas office, will maintain its legal incorporation in the United States, will remain listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but will list its shares on a Middle East exchange also.
Twenty years ago, even 10 years ago, these items would have given rise to Third World screeching about western cultural and economic imperialism. But today it is French and American whining that greets these moves.
Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman threatened hearings on the Halliburton move (birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, Waxman gotta threaten hearings), while Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy complained that Halliburton was somehow trying to cheat the American taxpayers (even though Halliburton is going to continue to pay its corporate taxes to the IRS -- and anyway, Dubai doesn't tax corporations that site in their city. Hm? No taxes as an inducement to increased business activity -- there's an idea to which Sen. Leahy probably hasn't given sufficient thought.)
Rather than hold hearings, or construct phantom conspiratorial tax evasion theories, Waxman, Leahy and their fellow ilk might consider that since Congress won't permit American oil companies to drill for the more than 140 billion barrels of recoverable oil that exists under American ground and in our coastal waters, it only makes sense for oil drilling companies to go where oil drilling is permitted.
I wouldn't blame Halliburton if it moved all its assets out of a country (that would be the United States) that slanders their good name rather than appreciates their world-class, vitally needed skills. What a pity if Waxman and his fellow anti-capitalists soon won't have Halliburton to kick around anymore.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.