Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Oil Spill in the Gulf: A Result of Decades of Conservatives Pushing for Deregulation

Bill Berkowitz over at BuzzFlash has an article up on the consequences of Reagan's and Cheney's deregulation. 

Reagan’s Legacy of Deregulation Goes Haywire in the Gulf

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 06/11/2010 - 4:38am. Guest Commentary

"The oil spill in the Gulf is the product of decades of conservatives pounding for deregulation, Cheney-era manipulation of federal regulatory agencies, and corporate insatiability.

These days, when watching television news reports – often the extraordinary reporting of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow – about the environmental/economic catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf which took the lives of 11 workers, I can’t help but think of two seemingly disparate things; the administration of Ronald Reagan, and the 1953 coup in Iran.

I’m thinking about our 40th president because the genesis of corporations drilling for oil where-ever and how-ever without being distracted or deterred by common sense rules and regulations, although part of the economic landscape for decades, picked up steam during the Reagan era.

The 1953 coup in Iran, which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh, came about because the British government, which owned the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company -- more Anglo than Iranian in both ownership and control – helped engineer the coup. And, one year later, the British government renamed the company, the British Petroleum Company.

During the 1980 presidential campaign, the Heritage Foundation burst onto the national scene with the publication of “Mandate for Leadership,” a comprehensive set of policy recommendations which became the intellectual underpinning for the "Reagan Revolution." Heritage’s blueprint included trickle-down economics, a major emphasis on deregulation, and massive cutbacks in social programs."

Although economists – both those supportive of Reagan’s economic initiatives and those opposed – have for years debated how committed the Reagan Administration was to actually advancing deregulation, one thing is clear; under-funded or de-funded government regulatory agencies, government agencies larded with corporate-friendly officials receiving corporate perks and kickbacks, and such mantras as “unleash the creativity of corporations and all will be well” and “drown the government in a bathtub” have dominated conservative policy initiatives over the past three decades.

In a recent interview, Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and currently an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary, told the Real News Network that George W. Bush’s Administration, through the offices of vice president Dick Cheney, did all it could “to destroy about a half-century or more's regulatory work with regard to oversight of fisheries, forestry, oil, gas, minerals in general. You name it,” said Wilkerson. “If it was supervised, if it was overseen, if it was regulated by the federal government, Cheney with his marvelous bureaucratic talent moved in and essentially replaced the people who were in the positions that were central to this regulation, this oversight, with people who were either lobbyists for the industry being regulated or executives from that industry.”

And to echo a certain conservative's claim on his blog:  "It's official, it's George Bush's fault!"


But it's also Reagan's and any other politician, Dem. or Rep., who helped to weaken regulations set in place  to avoid this sort of disaster.


Dave Miller said...

Shaw, as some have said, facts suck.

Now in this case, not only are we stating the facts, but we are letting the facts speak for themselves, and they are saying that the genesis for this tragedy can be posited in the hands of the Bush Admin.

The article you cited brought up some of the troubling aspects of American foreign policy.

Two countries, Iran & Iraq, both had democratically elected governments overthrown by the United States, and we act surprised and take it as an affront when they forget to invite us to their birthday parties.

And now, back to soccer... Go USA...

Michael said...

What neither party wants, and what we will never have, is actual restraint on corporate power to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, regardless of the consequences.

Joe said...

Regardless of regulation, this company (BP) would have had this tragedy, not because of Bush or Obama, but because they are sloppy and ignored both good judgement and regulations.

No amount of regulation will have any affect on those who do not follow regulations.

Do you think those who don't follow regulations are affected by them?

BP caused the oil crisis in the gulf, not Obama or Bush.

Sue said...

And so we see why Cheney is silent as are all the conservative bloggers. The righties are not talking about the Gulf disaster, could it be they are feeling the pangs of guilt??

Dave Miller said...

But Joe, while you are correct in that business, with no worry of actual inspection, will flaunt the rules, what if our regulators had the power to shut the business down, if they were in violation?

Do you think BP, or any other business, would have risked cutting corners if they knew random inspections with real consequences, were possible any day, ant time?

This is the same philosophy people beg for when it comes to stopping companies from hiring illegal immigrants.

Why is it that the GOP thinks this will not work to rein in this type of behavior?

Can someone give me an answer that makes sense?

Dave Miller said...

Nice new look Shaw... I like it!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thanks, Dave. Blogger put up some new choices for blog appearances, and it was fun making the change.

As to your other statement about regs: I think it is obvious that if there are serious consequences--ones that impact the bottom line--for acting recklessly, wouldn't it follow that corporations would care about safety?

According to what I've read, there were ways of avoiding this catastrophe, and BP ignorned them.

Arthurstone said...

Funny how are captains of industry so often ignore unenforced rules and regulations.

It's almost as if they didn't care...

Now if a few more CEO's were cuffed and thrown into the slammer it might get their colleagues attention.

If corporations have the right to 'free speech' they certainly have the right to enjoy criminal culpability.

libhom said...

I like how you are going after the root problems, like opposition to deregulation. It is so difficult not to get so trapped in the news cycle that we forget to talk about broader themes.

Joe said...

Dave Miller: "Do you think BP, or any other business, would have risked cutting corners if they knew random inspections with real consequences, were possible any day, ant time?"

Yeah...I do.

Criminals and lawbreakers don't care what the law says and rarely see far enough ahead to anticipate that THEY will get caught.

Besides, too often the cost of getting caught is less than the cost of compliance.