A Teaching Moment
The smart thing for BP to do is funnel all its cash out the door in the form of executive bonuses and stock dividends.
There’s just no reason to think BP is a good actor here. Their theoretical primary responsibility is to their shareholders, in practice it’s a bit more weighted towards the pockets of top executives. Birds and turtles, not so much.
This is what I’ve been preaching for years (see here, here, and here). Corporations exist for one and only one reason — to deliver a profit to shareholders (well, and a second reason as Atrios notes above — but those are really one and the same reason, no?). But working for the good of mankind and future generations? Forget about it. This is why we need government that is just as big and strong as the corporations that are running and ruining our world. You want small government? Well, OK, then you better have really, really small corporations. You need to bust up the banks and the oil companies and every other mega-corporation. If you don’t like that approach, then you sure as hell better get a big, bad-ass government to protect you from the greedy, self-centered bastards that run the big corporations.
And some good stuff from Tristero:
Yep. The response to both disasters could not be a better illustration of the sheer stupidity and madness of conservative/libertarian ideology. “Less government versus more government” is a grossly false dichotomy. The valid one is decent government versus incompetent and corrupt. As Kevin reminds us in his post, FEMA was a competent, well-run agency until Bush trashed it.
If ever there was a teaching moment on “less versus more government”, the Wall Street meltdown and now this BP oil spill are it. But will Idiot America wake up to what is going on? So far, most of America seems to be sleeping through class. God help us all.