Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who's responsible?

BP owns the deepwater horizon offshore rig. Halliburton may have done a shoddy cementing job. Americans have paid oil companies for over twenty million barrels of oil per day. And, of course, BP is legally bound to their shareholders to obtain it at minimal cost. If you drive a car or keep a retirement fund, it is very likely that some of your money was part of BP's incentive structure to do a poor job.

Does this mean that all Americans should be held liable for the cleanup cost, as John Boehner and the US Chamber of Commerce suggests?

I can't help but feel outrage at the presumptuousness, but I imagine that I have been liable, as have most Americans, paying into the oil market to give me cheap gasoline. If our federal tax system wasn't so closely dependent on income taxes, I might sympathize with Boehner a little more.

UPDATE: Tom Friedman agrees. But then again, he's a "barely literate cartoon mustache of oversimplification whose understanding of global politics is slightly less comprehensive than a USA Today infographic and who possesses about as much insight into world events as a lightly vandalized Wikipedia stub entry."

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