Barry Ritholtz posted a great article this morning on the BP oil fiasco and the political bungle that has followed to date. He goes much further than most critics and actually offers a suggested text for the speech Obama should deliver on the subject:
“Good evening, my fellow Americans.
On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Estimates of this leak have risen from 1,000 barrels per day to as much as 100,000 BPD. The Gulf of Mexico is now endangered — the food that it produces, its pristine beaches, its travel and tourist destinations are all threatened with despoilation. This environmental catastrophe is a tragedy of unprecedented proportions.
But there is worse news: This may be the future we are looking at. This may be the first of many such catastrophes we may face in the years to come. It is the result of a series of many bad decision made by too many people about too many important things. Our corporate partners have made inexpedient decisions to take on more risk to pursue greater profits. We saw this in both the banking sector and more recently, energy companies. Our regulators have become too cozy with their charges. Our Supreme Court somehow has mistakenly come to the conclusion that corporations are the equivalent to Human Beings, with the same guarantees to free speech and political participation. We have failed to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. We have allowed ourselves to become so inured to the benefits of cheap, plentiful energy, that we have ignored the risks and the costs.
We are in danger of losing our way, of no longer being a Democracy, and morphing instead into a corporatocracy — a nation of, by and for Corporations…
Even more important than well deserved criticism however, are the 10 suggested action points that Barry sets out as a plan to implement meaningful reform in energy policy. In a world where everyone is a critic, it is important that we take the time to think through and define actionable steps. It is easy to tear apart, valuable people are those willing to offer the tough thinking and hard work of trying to rebuild. See the full text here. This type of commentary is why Barry's blog “The Big Picture” is one of the more useful sites on the internet today.
Trying to reorder and repair the world is a huge job after all. My complaint about President Obama to date, has not been that he doesn't care or isn't meaning well, my complaint is that he has so far lacked the courage to break up the power brokers who wish to perpetrate the status quo to serve their own profits at the expense of the greater good. He keeps talking about this issue, but so far he has not taken meaningful action. We still hold hope. Obama, as William Wallace says to the Young Prince in Braveheart: “You are their rightful leader. There’s strength in you and I can see it.”
We await with tentative hope the financial reform bill that is promised within the next couple of weeks and significant energy reform in the weeks ahead.