And where, really, is the president in all this? Speaking to the nation from the Oval Office earlier in the week, he failed to declare a Jones Act waiver, and he made no call for a task force of hands-on oilmen from the likes of ExxonMobil and other big oil sisters who actually know what they are doing.
Another problem with Obama’s address was his arrogant announcement that he would inform BP’s CEO “that he is to set aside” an asset amount ($20 billion) for the government-run escrow fund to pay for the spill damages. Trouble is, there are no laws to permit our government to force such financial retribution. Not even a new TARP, at least not yet. Did someone say nationalization?
The government has no right interfering with the financial decisions of a private, shareholder-owned corporation. This sounds like GM and Chrysler all over again. Or maybe health insurers, pharmaceuticals, private investment funds, and multinational corporations. And it could end up having a serious and chilling effect on corporate investment.
Look, at least BP already agreed to pony up. Why should the government control this? Isn’t this another case of the Obama administration bullying, taxing, and regulating business as part of a social agenda to redistribute income and power from private enterprise to government? It’s a war on profits and capital.
Consider this: American companies are sitting on an astonishing pile of $1.5 trillion in unused cash. Why aren’t they investing to create new jobs? Well, it’s because massive tax and regulatory threats coming out of Washington have created a tall barrier of disincentives and uncertainty that is blocking the normal efficiency of the free-market capitalist system.
The instincts of our free economy are to promote growth. But when government blunts these instincts, the system ceases to work efficiently.
Americans do not want a cap-and-trade system. What they do want is a full-throated and comprehensive energy plan conducted on all fronts — carbon and non-carbon — that would unleash energy entrepreneurs and existing businesses to create more power and more jobs and more economic growth. Besides stopping the spill, this is the key point that Obama misses.
So, if BP is dirty, and if BP is incompetent, then so is Congress. And so is the White House, as far as I’m concerned.
The BP story is a total outrage. Once again America is not getting what it needs.