Congressman Ron Paul commented on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico over at Lew Rockwell.com. Here’s the good part:
“It should be noted that BP is not exactly a bastion of free market capitalism. Rather, they are very vested in acquiring government subsidies, favorably slanted policies, and competition-hobbling regulation. BP has even been a major lobbying proponent of cap-and-trade because of certain provisions in the legislation it could profit from. Considering who lobbies for them and what they lobby for, my concern is that attempts to hold them strictly and fully accountable could end up being nothing more than a shell game, with taxpayers ultimately holding the bag.”
Ron Paul gets it. It’s too bad a lot Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and anyone else in politics unsure or incapable of figuring out what to call themselves, don’t.
You can argue whether British Petroleum’s contribution was forced or not, but I hope people weren’t expecting the taxpayer to pick up the tab for BP’s screw up. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company British Petroleum, like Congressman Paul stated, has benefited over the years from “slanted policies” and regulations in the energy sector to help its bottom line. In fact that’s true of much of the energy sector of our economy. If we truly want a free market in the economy, then Congress should repeal the Hot Oil Act of 1935 and abolish the oil-depletion allowance. But as Rep. Paul would point out, if anyone in Congress made the attempt to do so, big oil’s lobbyists would certainly squelch the effort.
If the Hot Oil Act helped to cartelize the oil industry and increase prices, then Cap-n-Trade legislation may well be the same kind of attempt at collusion between big government and big business in the new energy markets of the future. It’s this collusion of big government and big business, not Social Security, that is at the heart of the New Deal. After all, it was the federal government, under the old MMS, that allowed such risky deep-water drilling to take place. In fact, they did everything Big Oil wanted them to do while agency employees pursued drugs and sexual favors.
It would seem then that BP is the very example of “crony capitalism” that many conservatives and libertarians have railed against in the past. Then why do such persons, whether they are Congressmen, or radio talk-show hosts, continue to believe that British Petroleum is the equivalent of the mom-and-pop grocery store which is being forced to move from its corner lot because of eminent domain for a new skyscraper after its owners refused to grease the local politician on the building commission? What if it were, instead of BP, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan oil company CITGO whose off-shore rig blew-up and began spilling oil in the Gulf, fouling beaches and destroying the livelihoods of thousands? Would it still be considered a “shakedown”?
British Petroleum has plenty of spokespersons and paid PR flunkies to help with its corporate image, they don’t need assistance from those who for some reason see the company as the “victim” in all this. Instead of arguing how both big government and big business is hurting the people of the Gulf region by both spilling the oil and making it hard to almost impossible for local residents to clean it up, they wish to act like shills for a foreign company whose dishonesty and incompetence have damaged the region irrevocably. This is not only intellectually stupid, it’s also politically suicidal. Do these people want Tony Hayward campaigning for them too?