Who’s side are they on?

With all the crying and complaining about “government bailouts” you would think that Republicans would want to do everything possible to make sure that the government would not have to “bail out” major industries ever again.  You would think that they would be all in favor of tighter regulations and increased accountability in American business, but you’d be wrong.  Dead wrong.

In fact, it’s just the opposite.  It’s Republicans that  want to ensure that government continues to bear the responsibility of coming to the rescue of irresponsible American corporate interests.  Of course they won’t dare say so, but it’s true.  Facts are facts, and what we’ve seen recently–particularly since the inauguration of President Obama–only serves to prove the point.

President Obama today spoke in front of the White House about the deepening crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.  In a politically correct manner he berated BP, Haliburton, and Transocean execs for their Teflon behavior during this past week’s congressional hearings on the oil spill in the Gulf.

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Not a single one of the companies involved were willing to take responsibility for the utter, complete, and disastrous failures of their firms.  And while BP claims that they’re willing to shoulder the responsibility to clean the mess up (yeah, right), all three companies are simply thrilled that the government has taken the lead in trying to contain the spill and prevent the oil from completely covering the Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi shore lines.

And you know who’s going to end up paying the majority of the costs?  The United States taxpayer, that’s who.  And while it’s perfectly reasonable for the U.S. Government to pitch in resources that private industries typically don’t have access to (like containment booms, a fleet of ships, and other equipment), it’s is totally UNreasonable for the government to have to bear the brunt of the cost because these companies irresponsibly cut corners and blatantly ignored safety regulations and procedures in order to save a few dollars.  And it’s Republicans that insist on allowing that laissez-faire attitude toward protecting the environment and allowing safety standards–both for the workers involved and in prevention measures–to continue.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) yesterday blocked a bill presented by Senator Robert Menendez (R-NJ) that would have increased the liability cap on oil companies from $75 million to $10 billion.  She was concerned that it will put too much of a burden on her corporate oil overlords and could drive them out of business.  Never mind that last quarter alone BP realized profits of over $5 billion. Never mind that according to Menendez the top five oil companies saw $25 billion in profits in the first three months of 2010.

That’s profits! That’s how much they made after expenses, and how much they get to keep!  Yet Murkowski claims that $10 billion will put these companies at risk.  Better the public suffer than careless corporations.

So the government is left to pick up the tab, just like they were forced to pick up the tab after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.  And Republicans are against bailouts?

The current spill happened because there was virtually no oversight.  It happened because of the culture of allowing the oil companies to do whatever they want, of leaving them to make up the rules and decide how they are to be enforced.  And this is not the first time that BP was grossly negligent in following and enforcing safety standards:  In 2005 a refinery in Texas City, TX, exploded, killing 15 BP employees and injuring 170 others. That accident resulted in the largest fines in industry history, but apparently either BP didn’t learn it’s lesson or simply doesn’t care.

But it’s not just the oil companies that Republicans get chummy with and vow to protect from “crippling regulation.”  Recently Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) met with banking industry and Wall Street execs to ensure them that they would do everything they can to prevent the Democrats from passing any kind of meaningful reform.  This shortly after House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) exhorted Wall Street execs to stand up to the “little punk staffers” and fight against financial reform. Never mind that it was the complete lack of rules and regulation that allowed Wall Street and the banking industry to nearly collapse the American economy.

It was Republicans who were against any kind of meaningful health care reform, desperate to protect insurance industry profits.  And yet without meaningful reform, it’s the American taxpayer that gets stuck paying for the hospital visits of those without any health insurance.  “Everybody gets healthcare” they tell us  “They can just go to the emergency room and they get taken care of.”  But who pays the hospitals for those emergency room visits?

Republicans are far more interested in protecting corporate profits than they are in protecting the public interest.  Their opposition to any kind of meaningful reform guarantees that the government will be required to step in and pick up the tab when disaster strikes due to corporate negligence.  It’s the government’s job to protect the economic interests of the country, yet right wingers won’t allow it to be done through regulation, so it must be done through bailouts.

Republicans insist on allowing their corporate benefactors to use their virtually unlimited resources to influence our elections, especially when it drowns out the interests of the every day average citizen.  They want to make sure the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class all but disappears, and we were set firmly on that path during the Bush administration.

The only interests that concern Republicans are the interests of those who can put gobs of cash into their pockets.  The fact that Republican lawmakers were hired by the voters to protect their interests matters little.

So just whose side are the Republicans on?  Because it’s pretty clear that they don’t care a whiff about the constituents they’re supposed to serve.  And the current stance guarantees that taxpayers will be left to clean up corporate messes.


1 comment so far

  1. the new sense on

    Finally, someone gets it right.
    Thank you!

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