Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Obama and the oil leak

I got a bill in the mail the other day for $95.43. Much as I hate bills, I'll pay it. It's my responsibility.
Could have been worse. Could have been the $69 million bill that the Unites States government sent to BP last week. I don't think I could have handled that one.
I was actually kind of proud of the Obama administration when I heard that they had sent the British petroleum company a bill for the government's costs due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And I snickered just a little bit when I heard that the government had given the oil company until July 1 to pay.
Over the past couple weeks, we've heard that there may be some sort of cap on BP's liability concerning the un-natural disaster they created in ocean. That means that the rest of the cost would fall on US taxpayers, a thought that seemed unconscionable to me.
I didn't mind paying the bill I was responsible for. But getting billed for the oil leak would certainly bother me.
Of course nothing can happen in the world these days without it having some political ramifications. To many in the Republican party this oil spill is somehow entirely the fault of President Obama and the Democrats in Congress. I've heard repeatedly that the oil leak is
“Obama's Katrina.” The people saying this, mind you, are the same exact people who want government to stay out of the affairs of business entirely.
Truth be told, I want as little government intervention in the business world as possible, too. But I don't then blame government when a business screws up.
Note to the GOP: You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Either you want government regulation and oversight, or you don't. You can't complain that Obama should have done more when you've been complaining that he's been doing too much up to this point. That's disingenuous and that's just one of the many reasons why I'll never join your little party.
Yes, BP screwed up. They've created an environmental disaster the likes of which have never been seen along our shores. And they should be held accountable for it. Every dime.
The ocean has been polluted. Wildlife has been killed. And the United States has become a laughingstock once again. So, yeah, BP should pay for that.
The president also took some flack last week because he hasn't been openly upset enough about the oil leak. More politics, apparently.
I thought White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' response to that particular accusation was just about perfect.
“If the president thought that yelling at the top of his lungs would solve this crisis, he would stand on top of the White House and do that. But he believes this crisis will be solved by plugging the hole and responding to the damage done, not by method acting,” Gibbs told
reporters last week.
That said, the president could stay true to his word about not resting until the leak is plugged. He's been seen doing a lot of relaxing and a lot of playing while the ocean fills with oil.
I know a lot of people are plenty upset about the situation, self included. I also know there's been plenty of jokes about it on late-night TV and the internet. I guess maybe that's our way. It is, however, a very serious issue that won't be solved by finger pointing or punchlines.
The leak needs to be stopped. The disaster needs to be cleaned. And the bill needs to be paid. And not by you and I.