Monday, May 31, 2010

Time for King Canute Obama to step up to the plate
Tom Smith

Or maybe that's the beach.  The ever challenging Frank Rich:

 The only good news from the oil spill is that when catastrophe strikes, even some hard-line conservatives, like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, start begging for the federal government to act, and act big. It’s the crunch moment for government to make its case — as Obama belatedly started to do on Thursday. But words are no match for results. As long as the stain washes up on shore, the hole in BP’s pipe will serve the right as a gaping hole in the president’s argument for expanded government supervision of, for starters, Big Oil and big banks. It’s not just the gulf that could suffer for decades to come.

I think there is some truth in what Rich says, though it takes some doing to figure it out.  Here's a giant industrial accident the causes of which, I'm willing to bet, are complex.  Nobody seems to know how to fix it.  It's even possible, I suppose, that it can't be fixed (maybe a big nuclear bomb would help?  Just asking.)  Now Rich says, if nobody, and in particular, the Government, can figure out a way to fix it, and soon, that will undercut the President's argument for more supervision by the government of the banks, Big Oil, and that's just the start of things that Rich says Obama wants the government to start supervising.  My guess is it's a long list.  But reflect on Rich's point for a moment.  He says, the government had better stop seeming so incompetent or people might reach the conclusion that they are incompetent.  Actually, his argument is even more striking than that.  It approaches, the government had better hurry up and do the impossible, or else people are going to jump to the conclusion that the government can't do the impossible.  You can see why it's hard to disagree with Rich about this.  He is a man of unusual mental qualities, without a doubt.

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Tom Smith
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Comments

I wondered if Rich were even a good drama critic or whether he reached his level of incompetence there (probably with his first column). Here, Rich's misunderstanding is even worse. The federal government claims ownership of the gulf. One of its actually responsibilities is oil spill cleanup. It has failed miserably. Jindal is only asking the government do what it says it will do rather than impede the process. Rich seems to think that is some kind of weakness on Jindal's part. No, it is more weakness on Rich's part.

We already know the number of people in the government who understand ultra deep water drilling is so vanishingly small, it must be zero. But, Rich seems to believe you can regulate what you don't understand. However, the SEC could not regulate Madoff even with directions. They cannot regulate manipulation of the silver and gold markets even with directions. Those things the SEC does understand. So, a test question for Frank Rich: compare and contrast the regulation of financial markets vs ultra deep water drilling. That should be an interesting column.

Posted by: Rick Caird | May 31, 2010 2:27:59 PM

With deep water drilling you are largely in the hands of a few companies. Happily, in contrast to the banks, the interests of those companies are roughly aligned with those of the USA. Unhappily, as in almost all corporations, the interests of many of the management are not aligned with those of the company, by which I mean its shareholders. The shareholders want a secure flow of dividends, which they expect to get from that same steady flow of oil which would supply the government with a huge flow of tax income. The managers want promotion. Similarly, it's open to question whether the interests of the USA are even roughly aligned with those of the employees of the Federal government - such as the President, just to take an example.

As for the government, it's also worth asking whether it was a good idea to ban the relatively low-tech (and therefore less risk) drilling in coastal waters while encouraging drilling in the deep ocean. Tentative answer: not bloody likely.

Posted by: dearieme | May 31, 2010 5:02:38 PM

Why would Jindal clamoring for the feds to do something be somehow hypocritical?

Cosnervatives don't say the fed has no role, merely that this role ought to be well defined and limited - and more of a last resort than the first resort.

Posted by: km | Jun 1, 2010 9:33:11 AM

Jindal wasn't "clamoring for the feds to do something". He was begging them to let HIM do something. All he wanted was waivers to build barriers to protect shoreline and habitats. But Obama's incompetent cretins in the federal agencies wouldn't give him permission - they wouldn't even answer him. Just like Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin during Katrina - incompetent Democrats who wouldn't lead, wouldn't follow, and wouldn't get out of the way.

Posted by: Andrew | Jun 2, 2010 9:16:31 PM

There is nothing hypocritical about self-proclaimed conservatives availing themselves, or, in the case of governors and legislators, their constituents, of such government benefit as are generally available. If the federal government creates demand for mere supplicancy, as believers in supply and demand, who are we to spurn the offer? I may disapprove of the practice of dispensing government largess as though it were manna from heaven, but I am under no duty to withhold the shears from sheep bleating to be fleeced.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jun 3, 2010 2:40:17 PM

There are lots of industries working all over the world but good to see there are lot of blogs also who are sharing industrial information. Great job keep this work up!

Posted by: Industrial Accidents | Jun 12, 2010 12:59:30 PM