John Gapper,writing in the Financial Times about Obama’s arm twisting-of BP to put $20 billion into an “escrow” fund:
It has echoes of the 1986 tobacco settlement in which industry paid $246bn to states following legal action by their attorneys-general. Only 5 percent of that money was spent on tobacco-related initiatives with Virginia, for example, investing in higher education, fibre optic cables and research into energy…Willie Sutton, the robber, sagely observed that he raided banks because that was where the money was, and US politicians know this lesson well.
The tactics of Congress and President Obama against BP are reminiscent of tort lawyers, who are big funders of the Democrats.
Longtime Democratic Party operative James Carville said: “It looks as if President Obama applied a little old-school Chicago persuasion to the oil executives.” Heritage observes that “making ‘offers you can’t refuse’ may be a great way to run the mob, but it is no way to run a country.”
As Glenn Reynolds said this morning, “Let BP fail if its liabilities exceed its assets — don’t turn it into a government-controlled slush fund.” As Glenn also notes, “the vilification of tobacco companies was really just about extracting a settlement that let greedy politicians get their hands on a stream of tobacco cash — which was then not spent as the politicians had promised.”
I think there is little question that Obama and his congressional supporters intend to extract large sums money from BP and other corporations and indeed to use these billions as slush funds, with large amounts of money directed toward favored interest groups in an effort to ensure perpetual reelection.
Obama is a machine politician, wrapped in a veneer of idealistic platitudes to lull the politically unaware and encourage the useful idiots in their idiocy.