Saturday, July 3, 2010

Qui Bono?

"Who Benefits?"

We are over two months into the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, the Obama Administration displays a stunning lack of ability to manage the problem, while preventing the professionals with experience from engaging. Who Benefits?

When asked about how he would have responded to the oil spill crisis, former President Bill Clinton responded:
"The federal government's position ought to be very straightforward," he said. "The most important thing is to fix the leak -- and anybody that can help us fix the leak, I'm for it. The second most important thing is to keep the oil away from the shores. The third most important thing is to minimize the damage when of the oil that reaches shores.

"The fourth most important thing today is to figure out who did what wrong and hold them accountable -- whether it was somebody in BP or somebody in the U.S. government. I'll do that, but let's do one, two, and three first... What people want is to fix the leak

So who benefits from the current administration posture?

Is it the environmentalists? Does the environmentalist movement derive more power from the destruction of the gulf shores, in order that they may eliminate our carbon-based energy economy? Is the destruction an "acceptable loss" in the war against capitalism? Is Cap and Trade that big a grail that this spill is worth perpetuating? Is there a market out there that would benefit from carbon limits?

How about the Labor Unions? We have had offers of assistance from 60 countries, many of whom have the specialized equipment and expertise necessary to rapidly and effectively deal with oil spills. There are ships in the Persian Gulf, the North Sea, and all around the United States (even in Louisiana) capable of skimming massive amounts of contaminated water and removing the oil. These sit idle. Why? The Jones Act. A 1920 protectionist measure designed to ensure that only American ships and American (union) labor work in our waters. This is the act that G. W. Bush waived in order to allow outside assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Obama won't waive the act to allow these high-tech skimmers access to work the spill. Instead, they sit idle. Maybe using exclusively unionized labor is more important than getting this disaster resolved?

The incompetence of bureaucracies is on full display with the Army Corps of Engineer's delay in permitting sand berms because "...even under an expedited basis, the dredging project would need to comply with federal environmental regulations."; the Coast Guard's shutdown of skimming/separating operations because of life jackets and fire extinguishers; and the EPA's disapproval of the Costner oil separators because the output "didn't meet water quality standards of 15ppm of oil"


President Obama's response to this oil spill so far has shown up his executive inexperience, as he owns all of the above agencies. So far, the only thing he has shown any talent at is shakedowns. He got $20 Billion from BP in less than an hour. Money that is not held by a disinterested third party, and has no accountability mechanism or oversight. In my opinion it is just another slush fund like TARP, and it will be abused similarly for political favoritism, vote buying, and graft.

Time for some aphorisms. I give you, in order, Clark's Law, Hanlon's Razor, Occam's Razor, and Emanuel's First Rule:

"Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."
"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice."
"The simplest explanation is usually the correct one."
“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste, they are opportunities to do big things.”
So I ask you to make a judgment about the administration's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Incompetence or Malice?

Qui Bono?




DaddyBear said...

Obama benefits only by preaching to his hard-left choir. His failure to lead and to get the job done in this crisis is alienating him from the centrists and non-aligned voters who got him elected. He still hasn't figured out that there's a difference between running an effective campaign and running an effective government. He's good for a photo-op and a stump speech, but fails miserably at making the hard choices for the good of the country. I hope for the sake of the Gulf Coast that he figures it out quickly.

Newbius said...

DaddyBear, I would settle for just having the Federals get out of the way.

DaddyBear said...

I agree. The best thing the government could do is waive all of the laws and regulations that are hindering the recovery efforts and then get the heck out of everyone's way. He who governs least governs best.