The coming BP bailout 

Think that President Obama would never allow BP to reap more benefit after its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Think again, says Nicole Gelinas. All the signs point to the president working with the British to protect BP against claims that could (justifiably) bankrupt the company:

Once BP stops this gusher, Obama will be tempted to work with the British government to devise a creative solution out side of American financial and judicial systems. That is, British taxpayers would pump a limited amount of money into BP for a “victims’ compensation fund” to be doled out by American politicians, who will enjoy the power.

If America’s market and legal systems aren’t adequate to deal with the modern economy, if we can’t allow fair rules to govern everyone, then we might as well become the Middle East or Russia — where Big Government and Big Business dispense favors and punishments in secret. Allowing the system to work helps the environment, too.

Congress, in turn, would protect BP or its non-American acquirer — and the British government — by capping claims. BP’s disaster will be a key test of our economic future: Do we still have rules that we respect? Or are arbitrary exceptions going to become the new rules for a protected economic class?

All of this government activity could have been avoided of course if there had been no liability caps in the first place — then people could have sued as they saw their businesses wrecked by the spill. Instead we get this boom and bust cycle of taxpayer-funded bailouts.

About The Author

J.P. Freire

J.P. Freire is the associate editor of commentary. Previously he was the managing editor of the American Spectator. Freire was named journalist of the year for 2009 by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You can follow him on Twitter here. Besides the Spectator, Freire's work has appeared in... more
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