Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dear Mr. President - Please Stay Out of the BP Oil Spill Mess

As Obama blunders from one intrusion into our economy to another we should remember that the American Presidency was set up with limited powers ON PURPOSE. And that was to avoid an over-reaching powerful executive that could thwart the progress of the citizens. Now tie this to the BP oil spill and the one thing we don't need is Obama grabbing more power for the White House. We drill for oil with the understanding that it is a tough, difficult and costly enterprise. Accidents will happen but that doesn't mean that our Presidents (Bush or Obama) need to get involved in every catastrophe. They are not God nor our father. Accidents like the Gulf coast oil spill or Alaska's oil spill should be handled by the people involved. We need the brains of competent people resolving these types of accidents - not politicians. Rob Tracinski writing at The Intellectual Activist makes some good points.

...Since when is the president responsible for managing the response to every industrial accident, from mine collapses to oil-rig blowouts? Since when is it any of his business?

It is British Petroleum's business. It is their responsibility to cap the well (as they now seem to be doing), to do whatever they can to mitigate the spill, and to pay for the damages and the cleanup. The courts should be involved in adjudicating the exact extent of the damages and of BP's responsibility, but that is really the whole of the federal government's legitimate involvement.

The federal government, in our political system, was designed to do very little: to provide for the national defense and to adjudicate a delimited set of legal cases that involve interstate actions. Even the police, which are a legitimate function of government, are not really a federal responsibility. And "industrial accident cleanup" is definitely not among the enumerated powers granted to Congress in Article I.

But nobody cares about the Constitution any more. Under the novel theory of government we've been living under for most of the past century, there is nothing that is not the business of the federal government. And so even as he is being criticized for making an unconvincing show of being "engaged" on the oil spill problem, President Obama has been trying to use that very failure as an excuse for further expansion of the government's role. His response to every criticism has been the same as the response given by Wesley Mouch—the flailing central planner in Atlas Shrugged—when his interventions fail: "I need wider powers."

And so Obama has said that his biggest mistake was to trust the oil companies to handle the spill—rather than putting the government in charge right away. And he has issued a moratorium on new permits for offshore oil exploration, until a new federal commission can convene and come up with a plan for more restrictions and taxes to impose on oil companies...

..When asked about the top achievements of his administration, he replied: "I minded my own business." So should President Obama.
... (The Intellectual Activist - "Mine Your Own Business")


Yeggo said...

While I disagree with your conclusions, I appreciate the clarity with which you write about them. I'm caught somewhere between "how in the world does anyone expect the government to be able to fix this" and wanting a government that CAN fix it.

I'm part of a project that's attempting to get people from differing ideologies to share their ideas in a civil, respectful way, and so far, role of government seems to be the bottom line on every topic (Rand Paul, the stimulus, the oil spill) that we've discussed recently. I hope you check out our conversation about this, and will encourage my contributors to read yours.

Sarita said...

I am in favor of the individual living his life as he sees fit NOT the government telling him how to live it. Why would you think that the gov which is made up of individuals would be able to direct the lives of other individuals? That's what all dictators and leftists have done throughout history and it never works!