Republicans are lost in the wilderness on this BP escrow thing
Sigh. Jobless claims have gone up again. The White House continues to dither in the face of our biggest foreign threat. The president still hasn’t waived the Jones Act. There are so many options with which to legitimately attack the current administration, I am failing to understand the criticism over the BP escrow account. Rush calls it a “shakedown.” Others are calling it a slushfund. I keep hearing that it’s unconstitutional. People, if there’s one thing that we can’t do right now, it’s lose credibility by going after the president for the good things he’s doing. Saying no to something simply because Barry came up with it is stupid. In fact, it’s so stupid, it causes idiots like Texas Republican Joe Barton to issue apologies to BP! Thanks Joe. Can everyone on the right just shut up for five friggin’ minutes and use the heads you used to have before you became politicians and pundits?
Okay, rant over. Let’s first examine the realities of the BP esrow fund. First, it’s not unconstitutional. Why? Because it’s a simple agreement between parties. It would have been unconstitutional if the President had forced BP to give $20 billion before it was found liable under one of any number of laws (plus the liability cap issue). Now, Limbaugh is probably correct to a certain extent: BP was probably threatened with something if it didn’t agree to the $20 billion. I’m sure we’ll learn about the identity of the super-secret bargaining chip in the next few days when it’s leaked to the press.
With respect to those who complain the $20 billion is a slushfund, i.e., a fund for whatever the President wants to use it for, you’re absolutely correct! It is a pot of money being administered by one person over whom only Barry has authority. You can be certain that a whole lotta’ pet projects and/or bailouts will be getting their hands on some of that money. How do I know? Well look at the bank bailout. Lest we forget, Congress passed TARP for the sole purpose of purchasing toxic assets, i.e. bad mortgages. Never happened. Not even once. Instead, the banks and auto companies were simply given the money to do with what they wanted. And TARP was at least passed by Congress. The terms of the BP fund were probably written down on a cocktail napkin.
Now, the slushfund can be good or bad, depending upon your perspective. It’s good if your only goal is to destroy the White House. If history is any indication, while legitimate claims are being denied due to red tape, the funds will be siphoned off for other purposes. And when word leaks out that it’s happening, the White House will be blamed. This is why I don’t understand why the talking heads on the right are so upset about this. In one ill-conceived move, Barry has now taken on the sole responsibility for helping every man, woman and child in the entire Gulf region. I say good luck to you sir. Now, on the other hand, the slushfund is bad because chances are, very little of the money will actually get to those who need it.
Allahpundit at Hot Air offers a different criticism, via a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed.
[A] government-administered fund more or less guarantees a more politicized payment process. The escrow administrator will be chosen by the White House, and as such would be influenced by the Administration’s political goals. Those goals would include payments to those harmed by the Administration’s own six-month deep water drilling ban. That reckless policy will soon put thousands of Gulf Coast residents out of work, but the White House knows that BP isn’t liable under current law for those claims. The escrow account is an attempt to tap BP’s funds by other means to pay the costs of Mr. Obama’s own policy blunder.
The op-ed is mostly correct, but also slightly wrong. I have no doubt that the pay-out process will become more politicized and will be pushed in certain directions by the White House. However, monies going to those put out of work by the moratorium will be paid out of a separate $100 million fund created by BP (at least the funds were separate as of yesterday. It’s possible that $100 million will be rolled into the $20 billion fund, but really, does it matter?).
The bottom line is this: Obama securing $20 billion from BP is not a bad thing in and of itself. It theoretically provides a source of money to start cleaning up BP’s mess. But securing the money is just the beginning. Obama had better make sure it’s actually distributed to the right people. If it’s not, we might just be witnessing the last nail in the president’s political coffin.