Halliburton, Ebay, Others Profit From Katrina Disaster
While most Americans are deeply touched and opening their hearts and pocketbooks to help, some others are disgustingly profitting from this disaster. Ebay for example is encouraging listings to help with Katrina relief, however only a few of the listings qualify for Ebay to donate "ad insertion" or "final value fees", so Ebay will profit from many of the listings intended to help the disaster refugees. But for one of America's most greedy companies, this should only be expected. To list an item that sells for a mere 99cents on Ebay, between the Ebay, Paypal(another Ebay owned company that handles cash transactions electronically), and Ebay "final value" fees, Ebay only leaves about 11cents left for the seller or for Katrina relief. On higher priced items, the profit margin for sellers or disaster relief improve, but also so do the Ebay fees. Selling an automobile on Ebay can cost $40 just to list, regardless of whether the car sells or not. If someone wanted to sell a car for Katrina relief, Ebay would come in for plenty of fees from the listing, final value, and from Paypal. This major Wall Street company manages to turn a handy profit, even when it comes to encouraging others to sell for Katrina relief so it can profit from the disaster.
And in a new act of outrage, Paypal(the Ebay owned company) froze the account of Somethingawful.com that raised $30,000 in a matter of hours for Katrina victims. Somethingawful.com is now fighting with Paypal to have access to the funds or a refund to the donors. It is estimated that Paypal has profitted from these Katrina donations by charging an outrageous $1,188.37 in transaction fees. But because Paypal is not FDIC regulated, they can freeze or seize any accounts that they wish.
Halliburton not only figured way after way to profit from the Iraq War, but will turn a handy profit as it charges to repair damaged oil platforms in the Gulf Of Mexico. The Port Of Houston is experiencing a surge in business as damage in Louisiana creates a port traffic boom. Major real estate firms are making handy profits from leasing high priced office space to businesses displaced by the Katrina damage. And businesses all the way from hardware stores to hotels are profitting from the crisis.
But fortunately, many are not profitting from the Katrina crisis, but are instead offering help. When Pat Robertson attacked the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, recently, he failed to note that the Venezuela owned Citgo has offered $1 million in aid a few days later. The small but oil wealthly state of Qatar has promised $100 million in aid. Israel has offered help. And Russia offered rescue team help, but Bush refused the offer. Even Wal-Mart, of which I've been a critic of some of their business and labor practices, has stepped up with the promise of millions of dollars of help, which is highly commendable. It may be a fact of life that many will seek to profit from a crisis, including price gougers, con artists and thieves. But still many right thinking decent people and nations will step forth and offer help. God bless all the good people who have stepped up when the chips are down for some.