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Rand Paul on BP’s mess: ‘Accidents happen’

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s new Republican Senate candidate, has a decidedly minority view of the current Gulf oil mess. On “Good Morning America” this morning he said:

Rand Paul

What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.’ I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.

I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.

Is there anyone in the country besides Paul who thinks BP is not responsible for the Gulf oil spill? (Besides BP, of course.) Sure, accidents happen. And when they do, whoever caused them pays for them. You could call the Gulf oil spill an accident, but it was also poor planning, negligence, corruption, mismanagement, short-cutting, risk-taking, and rule-breaking of the worst kind.

As for BP not paying, what does he think all that finger-pointing in Washington was all about? BP and friends couldn’t wait to blame each other for the disaster, precisely because none of them wants to get stuck with the bill. And from Day One, when asked if they’ll pay for their mess, BP officials have spouted only the rehearsed company line: “We’ll pay all legitimate claims.” Which translates to: “We’ll only pay what you can force us to pay in court.”

Who does Paul think should pay for this accident if not BP? If the costs are borne in any way by Washington, or federal relief agencies, or any other public agency, then it’s the taxpayers’ dollars being used — yours and mine. And I guaran-damn-tee you the BP mess was not my fault.


  1. The U.S. Congress limited BP’s liability to about 65 million. Whether BP actually pays the billions that will be required to clean up it’s mess will depend on it’s charitable nature, not on it’s legal liability. If anyone is to blame for the fundamental cause of “preventable accidents”, it is the idiocy of a system that encourages taking risks without having to assume the liability for the total cost of unintended consequences. The same system that prevented the banking industry from having to assume the cost of it’s risk taking. The same system that guaranteed the fictional value of securities insuring toxic (worthless) assets. The same system that says, “Just because you can’t sell cars, doesn’t mean you have to stop building them.” The same system that won’t stop creating similar Utopian corporate welfare schemes until the Treasury’s printing presses run out of paper and ink.
    BP may or may not voluntarily pay up to its capped liability of $65 million (which is chickenfeed, by the way. Their profits a year ago, according to Forbes, totaled $21 billion. The GOP this week blocked efforts to raise the cap to $10 billion because, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions, BP had given him it’s word that it would cover the costs of the spill in the Gulf. This just a few days before those same brilliant politicians finally figured out BP “might” be lying to them!

    We do indeed have a very broken system that allowed this to occur, but for the moment I’m only addressing who pays for this particular mess. If history is any indicator, BP won’t pay for all of it and my tax dollars will be taking up the slack. I resent that.

    Our government is one of the few entities big enough to make the world’s fifth largest corporation pay in full for what it did. It can either do that or admit it really is in the pocket of big business. In which case, we the people will get screwed again.

  2. We’re all frustrated by this boondoggle. We want risk takers to assume the responsibility for the consequences of the risk. But I’m guessing we don’t want this philosophy to apply across the board. Without any facts, this sounds like a Utopian plan devised by a national energy agency designed to inspire oil producers to develop deep water extraction techniques and equipment so that the unsightly gargantuan drilling platforms aren’t within sight of our sensitive eyes, and to add a bit more incentive, the agency and/or congress legally limited the liability of these producers to a token amount that was sure to be so small (in terms of potential profits) that it was an offer the oil producers couldn’t afford to pass up. For whatever reason, BP is not liable for any more than the regulations stipulate. Whether government admits it’s in bed with business or not, we’ve known for decades that it is. The citizens who keep voting for politicians that believe the constitution is merely a relic are the one’s who need to step up and admit their complicity in creating the bill that’s going to have to be paid by somebody other than BP. I think it was Pogo who said something like, “I’ve met the enemy and he is us.”
    I’m more inclined to think it was Big Oil paying/bribing our lawmakers to keep the regs and liabilities minimal, rather than Big Govt trying to lure the oil companies into deepwater offshore drilling. Both were greedy, negligent, and self-serving. And appropriate punishments can be decided and administered later. Right now, oil is still flowing into the Gulf. That’s where our attention should be.

  3. I couldn’t agree more — no matter who offered the bribe or who accepted it, every resource should be concentrated now on stopping this terrible fiasco.

    I think we also agree that nobody cares more about BP profits than BP itself and that if BP knew that it was 100% liable for damages, it would have taken every known precaution against this sort of disaster… which might even include not drilling in the first place.
    It looks very much like they shouldn’t have drilled this particular well, since it seems to be, quite literally, beyond their capacity to control. An oil company should have the equipment and knowledge to control any blowout at one of their wells — before they drill.

  4. Maybe Rand and his Giant Genius Business Head can block off the oil well with Pure Thought. The Blowhard versus The Blowout. Where’s that goddam 200 mpg car that they should have started selling in 1977?
    You sound almost as angry as I am … and that ain’t easy!

Now that I've had my say ...

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