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The president's slow-to-act policy resulted in big bucks

By Dian Vujovich

President Obama has been under attack for being a slow reactor. Yeah, I’d say he ought to have visited the Gulf Coast sooner than he did. And he should have been dressed more casually and wouldn’t it have been great if just once he’d made a comment about how seeing those pelicans all covered in oil broke his heart. But he didn’t do any of that. Instead he waited. And that waiting got us a whole lot more money that reacting quickly would have.

Let’s just pretend that if Prez O had gone down to the Gulf a day or two or even a week after the oil spill was reported and talked with BP officials he probably would have been told that they, BP, could take care of this in no time. And the prez probably would have believed that. I would have, wouldn’t you?

What we’ve all learned over the past 50-some days (and I sure wish they’d quit showing that count and put up the count of the number of days we’ve been at war plus lives lost) is that BP has lied about everything from the amount of risk involved in the drilling to being able to contain the mess, to how to correct the mess, how much oil has been spilled etc. etc.

So to my way of thinking, an early reaction by Obama would have netted those in the Gulf region with far less in money than his waiting did. Plus, not gotten the spill contained any quicker. Believe only 1-to 5,000 barrels of the crude was being dumped into the ocean every day as BP originally reported would not have translated into a $20 billion fund but more like maybe a $5 billion one that probably would have come with a cap. This $20b one doesn’t.

Now that doesn’t make things okay, or take away any of the pain those working in that region are feeling, but maybe waiting did pay off. I would have preferred a quicker response from the prez especially once he learned BP’s words weren’t to be trusted, but if we’re to make lemonade out of this lemon mess, or chocolate mousse out of the chocolate colored crude, how about we learn somethings. Like, take the proper precautions to make sure that drilling for oil in shallow, deep or beneath the sea’s bottom comes with the same safety concerns and practices in place that NASA uses before it sends anyone into space.

And how about we tear a page from the president who left office in disgrace, Richard M. Nixon, who along with every other president since the 1970s has told Americans that we need to get off our dependency on oil. How many lives need to be lost, businesses fail or go bankrupt, shorelines, wetlands, and sea creatures must be killed before we get it?

As for all the BP shareholders who won’t be getting dividend checks the rest of this year, that’s a bummer. But as every investor knows, dividends on shares of common stocks don’t come with guarantees. It’s the choice of any company whether or not to pay them, or how much they ought to be. Speaking of money, isn’t it amazing that BP said it’s likely that they’ll be able to begin dividend payouts next year? Let’s see $20 billion and maybe more to pay out now, dividends to possibly be paid out next year—-good heavens, now much money does this company really make?

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