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Obama-BP Deal: Something Not Right Here

Something seems fishy about the Obama-BP oil spill escrow deal — and I don’t mean dead shrimp and red snapper washing up on the Louisiana coast. 

While boat loads of people are skimming up outrage at the Administration’s purportedly unconstitutional “shakedown” of a private company, I’m trying to figure out why “roustabout” executives in the rough-and-tumble oil industry would cave-in so readily to the likes of our country’s notoriously academic CEO and just hand over $20 billion dollars, apparently without  nary a quiver of even the legendary British “stiff upper lip.”

Beyond any PR value, if the President of the United States personally sees to it that through the escrow funds and account he demanded, with claims administered not by BP but by a third-party of his choosing, residents and companies effected by the spill are fully and fairly compensated for their losses and damages, then what will there be for the trial lawyers to do?

And is $20 billion (or even double that amount) a bargain compared to what a jury might be inclined to award at the urgings of the likes of John Edwards?

By short circuiting the judicial branch, could Obama effectively become a legal meat shield for BP, even if their deal involved no explicit waiver of liability?

And for a company willing to take the risk of drilling for oil a mile beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, wouldn’t  that be a bet they might make?  I don’t see what they have got to lose at this point.  Even if it ends up just reducing some of their future liabilities, they win.

Although no laughing matter, it will be interesting to see who gets the last laugh — and if the past 18 months are any indication, I wouldn’t bet on Obama.

Categories: A Brave New Yo-Yo
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