Cutting big government down to size

Socializing costs, privatizing profits

It appears that Congressional Republicans are showing their true face yet again. As Talking Points Memo reports:

Congressional Democrats and the White House are toying with different ways to force BP to cover the costs of damages from the Gulf oil spill. But they face stiff opposition from industry...and it seems leading Republicans. In response to a question from TPMDC, House Minority Leader John Boehner said he believes taxpayers should help pick up the tab for the clean up.

"I think the people responsible in the oil spill — BP and the federal government — should take full responsibility for what's happening there," Boehner said at his weekly press conference this morning.

Does it matter when the federal government chooses to add another massive bailout to the deficit when said deficit can be used by fiscal conservatives in both parties as a compelling reason to demolish the remainder of America's anemic welfare state? I bet it does not matter at all. This situation, as ripe as it is with hypocrisy and greed, is common enough these days; it expresses the essence of James Galbraith's predator state — the use of governmental institutions and power to extract value from the weak and underrepresented, much as a "protection racket" would (p. 147).

John Boehner has, as one would expect, choice company in this most recently noticeable effort to loot the commons. His is not a lonely fight:

Boehner's statement followed comments last Friday by US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue who said he opposes efforts to stick BP, a member of the Chamber, with the bill. "It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game," he said. "Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that."

Shamelessness is too mild a word to describe work of this sort. The remorseless looting by America's elite indicates one thing above all else, namely, that the country's 'leaders' are, to put it charitably, hardened sociopaths.


Boehner and the Chamber of Commerce clarified their already stated positions on the role of the federal government in the cleaning up the Gulf disaster (see here and here). Their clarification: They do not support the use of government money (tax revenue both present and future) to pay to clean up the Gulf. But, what about the damages which Gulf residents would have the courts impose on BP?

Last updated on June 12, 2010 at 3:14PM

No comments: