Read the new Economist’s editorial on how the U.S., Obama in particular — is risking being too tough on BP. They even compare him to Russia’s Putin in kicking around private enterprise. Come on. Yes, there is risk that Obama and company, including Congress, are pandering a bit to public outrage about BP’s apparent criminal negligence in it’s lack of providing Gulf drilling safety measures and its empty contingency planning. Considering they are politicians, whose very employment is contingent on such pandering, that’s what they do. They have to be careful they don’t overstep the law in their condemnation of BP, as the Economist points out clearly. And yes, BP has ceded to demands for setting aside cash for reparations, withholding a dividend, and even sending their CEO home on furlow (so he could watch his yacht, Bob, compete off the Isle of Wight).
And is Obama and company ganging up on British pensioners and other BP shareholders who are being financially penalized to pay for all this? Sure, but they made what has turned out to be a bad investment. Americans already know about those. But is this excessive, and posing a risk to the status of private enterprise in American culture, as The Economist theorizes? Hardly. Apparently no one at BP has yet been fired over the spill, at least according to Hayward before Congress. What kind of accountability and Board responsibility is that? The spill goes on and on, and at higher levels than BP long acknowledged. Many Americans are already out of jobs. And the wildlife that have paid the ultimate price already will never be known.
The economic loss and trauma to humanity of this needless tragedy, and the repercussions that will go on beyond our lifetimes is vast and unknown in its scope and breadth. Are Obama and company risking our economy or our souls over handling this issue? I don’t think so. They should be careful, but what happens to BP, it’s reputation, it’s so-called leadership (and their boats) is of little concern to me.