Every day the congress and president have taken turns blasting BP for the oil spill and demanding that BP be required to pay for more and more costs that are not the direct result of BP actions. Clearly our politicians have read the polls and know it is popular to blast BP but will it help the people of the Gulf get their money, will it help the trial lawyers keep money from going to the people of the Gulf, and could it jeopardize what BP has already agreed to do?
For someone like Obama who claims to be in charge of the situation, and has been since day one, doesn't it seem rather odd that as of today Obama has never talked to the head of BP about anything, not even the spill, the clean up, the methods to stop the leak and the long term consequences. How can we be working with BP if our leader sees no need to even talk to their leader?
From day one BP has already said they will pay for all legitimate costs relating to the oil spill. Under existing federal law they are only required to pay $75 million in costs. In spite of that law they have already agreed to pay out nearly $1.2 billion and are willing to accept much more of the burden. No one in congress or the White House seems to be talking about the fact they are already paying out 16 times more than our federal law requires.
But facts never meant much to politicians anyway and they are now hell bent on persecuting BP for every bill that is even remotely connected, if connected at all, to the oil spill in a feeding frenzy to drive the company into bankruptcy. Of course the liberals in the White House and congress are brain dead to the fact the court does not think retroactive laws are viable so a retroactive change in laws like congress and the president seem to want is probably illegal.
The very same politicians gave away trillions of dollars to banks, insurance companies and auto companies and in spite of the potential for criminal activity having caused the economic meltdown no laws were changed retroactively. Be honest people.
Yesterday Obama's Interior Secretary said BP would have to pay for the consequences of the delay in permits for offshore drilling, the knee jerk reaction of the president to prove he was getting tough on big oil. Such a claim is juvenile and nonsense.
Our government will waste millions of dollars in legal fees pursuing frivolous changes in the laws and defense of the laws in federal courts and the first question should be what law firms get the contracts from the White House and Justice or Interior Departments to do the work since we know our government does not have the legal capability to take on such a mission. Look for prominent campaign contributors to the Obama and congressional leaders among the trial lawyers receiving these contracts.
No one is on BP's side in this debate, and I agree they must pay their fair share. But our Democrat leadership in congress has a twisted view of fair share and will never get away with the promises they are making clearly for campaign purposes. Does the media not remember the hundred promises Obama and the Democrats made in the last campaign they remain ignored?
Why did Obama and the Democrats not go after the banks, mortgage and insurance companies that cost Americans trillions of dollars in savings and real estate values from manipulation of regulations? Instead are politicians wasted billions more to bailout the crooks. Suddenly our politicians have found honesty? It has a lot more to do with campaign contributions than honesty. Thus bellowing about BP is totally inconsistent with the actions of politicians to date.
As expected, BP is not taking kindly to the many threats of bravado from politicians promises to make BP responsible for costs having nothing to do with their commitment or liability. The new government in England is having the same problem as it is a British, not American corporation. Look for BP to start taking legal action to protect itself from stupid claims against them by our government.
A few billion dollars in cost will have little effect on BP, even though the media are screaming they may go bankrupt paying all the cost. BP is one of the largest oil producers in America with over one million barrels a day. They are also one of the largest in the world. Whatever Obama and Congress do to drive down BP stock value will result in higher oil prices, thus higher gas costs for everyone. This will only make more money for BP as a major oil producer.
Liberal politicians seem to think BP bashing is a chance to demonize oil companies and improve the chances for Al Gore's windfall, the president's energy bill. With Goldman Sachs in line to share in the windfall profits from anything Obama does to help alternative energy and limit carbon credits, look for even more threats from Congress.
So what are the other consequences?
For one, we may very well alienate relations with Britain who happens to think their BP is one of the best oil companies in the world and certainly one of the largest multi-national companies in the world. If our congress keeps making charges and demanding BP pay for things not involved in the oil spill Britain can do many things to make life miserable for Obama.
For comparison, just look how the Obama policy affected the sanctions against Iran. We lost the support of two former allies, Turkey and Brazil, and in order to get the support of Russia and China we agreed to remove the only provisions of the sanctions that might have made a difference. Russia is free to sell a ballistic missile system to the renegade nation and there will be no gas embargo against Iran which might have actually done some good.
Our foreign policy moves have been a disaster for the Obama campaign promises, and whatever worldwide goodwill he gained in being elected he has lost with his actions in being president.
As for BP, yes the stock value has dropped in half. That was expected. Any effort to extend the costs beyond the legal liability will have grave economic consequences. The salaries for out of work oil workers whose jobs may be lost because of the Obama suspension of offshore drilling is not the fault of BP. Unsubstantiated claims that BP is liable for up to $30 billion in unidentified costs only increases tension between the US and all other oil dependent nations.
Beyond the fact England is not about to allow Obama to destroy one of the most successful companies in Britain, the Brits could retaliate by withdrawing troop support in Afghanistan, by working trade and development deals in Russia and China that are not beneficial to the US, and a host of other unintended consequences. We need them a lot more than they need us.
As for the 50% loss in stock value at BP, does that really just hurt the company? Billions of dollars in BP stock are held by American pension funds, investment funds for our seniors, and investments by many state governments and institutions from America. The radical rhetoric in Washington just cost our own citizens millions of dollars in value for their retirement accounts. Those same stock holders get one of the biggest dividend payouts of any stock in the world and congress and the president want to stop the dividends as well.
Finally one must not forget there are hundreds of thousands of employees in America in the oil industry, and millions more employed in fields dependent on oil for their products and services who could be out of work if congress overreacts to the crisis. All Americans will suffer from the gas price increase that has resulted from the attacks on the oil industry. It would do well for our politicians to think before they cut loose their bionic tongues.
So whose side are Obama and Congress on? Is it the anti-capitalist side of socialism, the anti-oil side, the far left side advocating the redistribution of wealth, or the side of their top campaign contributors from the trial lawyers who will make millions in fees that should have gone to victims?
We are still waiting for leaders to step forward in Washington whose wisdom is more prominent than their bravado and whose knowledge influences their words. And waiting... And waiting...