Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oil Spill Blues

Two news articles on Reuters caught my eye today. The first one, BP oil spill to cost U.S. taxpayer almost $10 billion, should really surprise no one. In fact, my guess is that it will cost all of us far more, both in economic and ecological terms. However, it may shock some people to understand HOW taxpayers will foot the bill.
Oil giant BP said it plans to offset the entire cost of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill against its tax bill, reducing future contributions to U.S. tax coffers by almost $10 billion.

BP took a pretax provision of $32.2 billion in its accounts for the period, for the cost of capping the well, cleaning up the spill, compensating victims and paying government fines.

However, the net impact on BP's bottom line will only be $22 billion, with the company recording a $10 billion tax credit, most of which will be borne by the U.S. taxpayer, a spokesman said.
If that isn't bad enough, I heard on CNN tonight that the vaunted $20 billion fund that BP agreed to bankroll remains bone dry because BP has yet to pony up any money!

The other article, For some, Gulf Coast is the land of opportunity, illustrates how one person's or region's calamity almost always another person or group's windfall. No matter how bad things are, somebody gets paid to clean-up and rebuild.
Hundreds of contractors and thousands of workers are swarming over the U.S. Gulf Coast, hoping to cash in on the country's worst oil spill...Although the spill has wreaked havoc on the fishing and tourism industries along the Gulf Coast, others will benefit at a time of high unemployment in the United States.

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