Boone Pickens Cannot Tell a Lie

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Oilman-turned-alternative energy pitchman T. Boone Pickens just spoke with press (in a meeting set up by tech whiz David All) about his $58 million ad campaign and his advocacy of billions of dollars in spending. A surprising number of questions dealt with what I wanted to know: Isn't Pickens asking for a big check to fund his own companies.

Well, yes.

"With the financial situation being what it is, I can't do what I wanted to at the start of this campaign," Pickens said. "I'd need partners. But I wouldn't get involved with anything without the possibility of making money. These plans are out there. Anybody can look at the blueprints, and they can make money."

Doesn't Pickens stand, specifically, to make a lot of money if California voters pass Proposition Ten? That would apply $5 billion to natural gas, a potential windfall for Clean Energy Fuels, which Pickens has an enormous stake in? "If it was successful, it could help the company." He'd make money. "But I've got plenty of money."

If only all rent-seeking was so honest.

NEXT: John McCain Owns Foreign Cars!

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  1. Yep. Although there are quite a few fools on the internet (*cough* Glenn Reynolds [who really isn’t a fool, but fell for Pickens’ rap early on]) who think he is doing this out of altruism. I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to see a rich guy go rent-seeking to make more money. Even though it may eventually end up being a good idea (no).

  2. Rent-seeking wouldn’t be possible if the Gub’ment weren’t the landlord.

  3. Actually his real goal is to get the state to eminent domain a strip of land 250 wide by 250 miles long so he can not only put up a lot of windmills but also run a water pipeline from an area where he has bought up tons of water rights to an area where a lot of folks need water.

    A primer can be found here.

    The guy is no dummy!

  4. Make that 250 feet wide.

  5. I loved him in Dr. Strangeglove.

  6. I brought this up a few weeks ago with some fellow alumni (I’ll i said was that, “if it’s such a good idea why doesn’t he just go do it?”) and was almost beaten to death for questioning his excellency….although I was at a tailgate outside of Boone Pickens Stadium in stillwater.

  7. If people stopped trying to make money once they already have “a lot of money”, there would be no billionaires. Once you have $100M in the bank, even with the govt taking 50% of that you’re set to live comfortably for the remainder of your days already.

  8. Anybody who thought T. Boone was doing this out any sense of altruism has not spent any time at all examining his career. T.Boone don’t do a damn thing that doesn’t benefit him in some way.

  9. Oh mah ceiling cat! Pickens wants 2 mak money! Dis ar teh not acceptable! We must stop him!

  10. “So, ladies and gentlemen, if I say I’m an oil man you will agree.”

  11. T.Boone don’t do a damn thing that doesn’t benefit him in some way.

    Which is fine, until he pulls a stickup operation on taxpayers. If Pickin’s can’t sell his products to me, by appealing to my self-interest, we’re done. Next merchant, please.

  12. Ignore my apostrophe in previous.

  13. Happy Cat apparently doesn’t understand “rent-seeking”. However, I’m sure he can has cheezburgers.

  14. Rent-seeking wouldn’t be possible if the Gub’ment weren’t the landlord.

    After all, no private concern has *ever* hired outside consultants to “streamline their personnel system” and feng shui the corner office.

    Oh, wait…

  15. “So, ladies and gentlemen, if I say I’m an oil man you will agree.”

    That one’s on my list. The commercial looked great. (Daniel Day-Lewis rocks the house, generally speaking.)

  16. That one’s on my list. The commercial looked great. (Daniel Day-Lewis rocks the house, generally speaking.)

    Don’t delay. People seem to either love it or hate it, and I freaking loved it. Some lesser individuals could take a “greed is bad, mm’kay” message from it, but I beg to differ.

    Fucking kickass soundtrack, too. Johnny Greenwood + the ondes-martenot/theremin (I forget which) = win.

  17. After all, no private concern has *ever* hired outside consultants to “streamline their personnel system” and feng shui the corner office.

    Does anybody know what Elemenope is talking about? What does any of that have to do with rent seeking?

  18. If anything Elemenope writes ever makes sense to me, I schedule a session with my psychiatrist ASAP.

  19. Nothing wrong with trying to drum up some money, but Pickens is also trying to get subsidies, grants and tax breaks from the government, not just from private investors.

    I’d be all for Pickens if he was keeping it in the private sphere, but if he wants tax money for his little experiment, he can go suck a lemon.

  20. In economicz, rended seekin occurz wehn a individual, organizashun or firm seeks ta maeks moneyz by manipulatin teh economic adn/or legal environment rather than by traid adn producshun uv wealth. Teh turm comz frum teh noshun uv economic rended, but in modern uz uv teh turm, rended seekin iz moar often associateded wif govermint regulashun adn misuz uv govermintal authority than wif land rentz az defineded by David Ricardo.

  21. So Pickens iz jus actin liek politician?

  22. Pickenz iz doingz my biddin.

  23. Iz watchin Pickenz masturbate.

  24. Is T. Boone Pickens also in favor of Monorail Cat?

  25. Pickens wud support monorail if he cud mak money frum it.

  26. SU-U-U-U-L-U-U-U-U….SU-U-U-u-u-u-l-ooooooo….

  27. I’m in ur bailoutz stealin ur taxs

  28. From wiki:

    “Rent seeking generally implies the extraction of uncompensated value from others without making any contribution to productivity.”

    Unless you have a really wild theory as to how feng shui improves shareholder value, connecting the dots shouldn’t be that complicated.

    After all, a person can insinuate themselves into and manipulate the internal conditions of a company in order to prey upon it (and extract value via useless services) in much the same way that a person may insinuate himself into the regulation-writing structure of a government in order to prey upon it (and extract taxpayer dollars).

    Except in Libertopia. Obviously.

  29. internal conditions of a company
    regulation-writing structure of a government

    Because membership of the company and government are both voluntary, it’s the same!

  30. Boone: “I’d need partners.”
    And he’s willing to pay for them. For example, he bought a majority of the Texas legislature, which granted him eminent domain powers to expropriate land for his water and power transmission lines to Dallas.
    Taxpayers are also his (unwilling) “partners”, financing those transmission lines. What did Pickens get for $58 million worth of advertising? About $4.9 BILLION from taxpayers, to build those transmission lines into the desert for his wind farm.
    The guy isn’t a capitalist. He’s a con artist and an unrepentant statist.

  31. Because membership of the company and government are both voluntary, it’s the same!

    All metaphors are imperfect. You can pick at the niggling inconsistencies, like an unripe scab, until they all come apart. Doesn’t do much good for understanding the point, but works wonders for maintenance of cherished prejudices.

    And if you do not believe that all of us are in some ways significant participants of companies, even those of whose products you do not buy or stock you do not invest, you are an idiot. And since you are anonymous, I don’t feel bad saying so.

  32. And since you are anonymous, I don’t feel bad saying so.

    Says the anonymous guy.

  33. All metaphors are imperfect. You can pick at the niggling inconsistencies, like an unripe scab, until they all come apart. Doesn’t do much good for understanding the point, but works wonders for maintenance of cherished prejudices.

    Except it wasn’t a niggling inconsistency; it was a central pillar of your argument. If you don’t like companies that invest in feng shui, then don’t invest in them.

    And if you do not believe that all of us are in some ways significant participants of companies, even those of whose products you do not buy or stock you do not invest, you are an idiot. And since you are anonymous, I don’t feel bad saying so.

    Hence the need for regulations preventing force and fraud. Regulations preventing investment in feng shui on the other hand…

  34. If you don’t like companies that invest in feng shui, then don’t invest in them.

    And if you see a CEO throwing vast sums of his shareholders’ money at a fabulously palatial new corporate headquarters, short the stock. If the SEC will let you.

    “Hai! Ima Boonedoggle Pickens yer pockits!”

  35. Says the anonymous guy.

    I’ve posted with the same name here for a decent amount of time. That’s as far from anonymous one can be in the context of an internet forum. The comments I make under this name as I have consistently used it allow me to have a reputation and social credit (positive with some, negative with others) as people start to form expectations and opinions regarding what I might post, and a context of other comment in which to understand them.

    Except it wasn’t a niggling inconsistency; it was a central pillar of your argument. If you don’t like companies that invest in feng shui, then don’t invest in them.

    It was not a central pillar of my argument. All economic activity effects my life whether I participate directly in consuming a particular company’s products or invest in their stock. Things like rates of inflation, money supply, choice in the market, and so on, are affected profoundly by the actions of such companies, and all those things affect you and me. My point was that rent-seeking (extracting value from a company for an essentially useless service or through personal manipulation of the principal actors) affects more than the consumer of that company’s product and the investor of that company’s stock.

    And that Libertarians seem so very intent upon ignoring these [gasp! indirect! abstract!] effects is why right now people are making fun of us instead of listening to us during the credit meltdown.

  36. If you don’t like companies that invest in feng shui, then don’t invest in them.

    And if you see a CEO throwing vast sums of his shareholders’ money at a fabulously palatial new corporate headquarters, short the stock. If the SEC will let you.

    Ah yes, the Steven Udvar-Hazy rule of investing. Run a 3 billion dollar company from your airplane hangar at LAX. Then sell to AIG.

    Damn, so close.

  37. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone Al Gore has already made tens of millions on the global warming scam, and will make more if he gets the new laws he wants.

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