This is a question posed by my husband's colleague to him in an e-mail that was then forwarded to me: Do you remember several months back, when Toyota was having trouble with their accelerators sticking on their automobiles? I don't recall everyone pointing their finger at GM, Chrysler, Ford, or for that matter Saab, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, or Mercedes motor companies. If the whole auto industry wasn't responsible for what Toyota did, how can the whole oil industry be responsible for what BP did? Reasonable question, right?
The moratorium on the deep water drilling operations for six months in the Gulf of Mexico punishes everyone. These rigs have been inspected and there are no safety issues. Why punish the ones doing the right thing? The unemployment numbers continue to rise and thousands are without work or paychecks. Many live paycheck to paycheck. Why are they punished for the shoddy work of one rig?
The guaranteed $20 billion fund set aside by BP is reassuring but it is not the final step of compensation. But, the government in charge of it? It will become another political slush fund, just wait and watch. The red tape is astounding. Our government is botching up the process further by introducing another czar and another commission while the working people along the Gulf coast just want to make their boat payments, meet payroll, pay their mortgages and continue normal life in a situation not of their own making. There is a 90 day process involved now in claims if you are not compensated with an amount you think is fair. How can the regular working folks be expected to endure a 90 day balancing act? Let's hope the process for initial payments is streamlined and more efficient so that the stress is a bit lessened.
And, when will the oil drilling rig workers be able to go back to work? Those rigs will not remain in the Gulf as they sit idle. They will move overseas where the demand is and higher day rates are available. If the crews are not offered jobs as the rigs move overseas, they will add to the number of unemployed. BP has already stated they will not pay for unemployment compensation for other workers of other companies. Taxpayers are on the hook for that. That is more fallout from the Obama issued moratorium. It was not thought out properly and not necessary. It is simply a knee jerk reaction so that Team Obama appears to be making decisions. It is not leadership.
This administration,so heavily laden with career educators and think tank scholars, as well as career politicians, has no clue of what it takes to create and maintain jobs. They have no working world experience. These people never met a payroll, led a company, governed more than a specific constituency. It shows.
We know Obama is impressed with Energy Secretary Chu's Nobel prize in physics. Good for him. But, he knows nothing about oil drilling and no practical working experience in the real world. It shows.
The old reaction that the big oil companies are evil and GOP controlled is so last century. Obama benefited more than any other candidate from oil company contributions - the most from BP, as a matter of fact. The oil drilling business is first and foremost a business. The political contributions go with whomever appears to be in power. Democrats have controlled Congress since 2007. Common sense.
President Obama met with the group of BP executives for a mere 20 minutes. He met with the Chairman of BP for 25 minutes. So, was it only for the publicity of being able to say finally, on day 58, he met with the BP people? It is just strange to most Americans that this meeting is so late in the making and it seems Obama simply went through the motions - a vehicle for him to appear angry and demand more money to throw at the tragedy. After the meetings concluded, there was no joint appearance of the president and the BP executives. They made separate statements to the press. The Chairman of BP took a few questions. He made an unfortunate reference to the claims of "small people" when he was referring to the working people of the Gulf coast. He is Swedish and it is assumed that was a language glitch. They just keep shooting themselves in the foot.
It would be good if in all of this turmoil and trouble, the lives lost were remembered a bit more. I know they would not have approved of a moratorium on deep water drilling. It does not honor their memory.