The Oil Economy & The Price

This post originally appeared at Open Left.
The disaster in the Gulf unfolds. It looks like this is worse than thought and is going to get a LOT worse.
A LOT worse: BP Oil Well Leaking Five Times Faster Than Estimated

A damaged BP Plc oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is leaking as many as 5,000 barrels of crude a day, five times more than previous estimates as the oil slick drifted the closest yet to shore, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

5,000 barrels is 210,000 gallons. This is turning out to be much, much bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster.
How many times have you heard, “The private sector does everything more efficiently and effectively than government?” Right. Not this time. Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device,

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn’t have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

So once again the private sector screwed up and created a disaster that is way, way beyond private capabilities to fix things… and again it is government to the rescue: US military joins Gulf of Mexico oil spill effort. But government coming in after the fact to clean things up after the private sector created a major disaster is a very expensive way to do things. Maybe we ought to revisit that “government is bad” ideology that let’s this kind of thing happen over and over again.
Anti-government ideology? Deregulation ideology? I wonder where it comes from? Well, all that Koch money you may have been hearing about, funding the Tea Party movement, funding the climate deniers, funding all that anti-government, anti-regulation crap — that’s oil money. Exxon, Schell and BP are in that mix as well.
This stuff follows a model developed by the tobacco companies to keep their franchise going after it became clear they were profiting from a product that was killing people. The model is to fund a political movement to throw as much smoke as possible in the air — “doubt is our product” — get people arguing about “personal responsibility” instead of our community responsibilities to each other, and turn people against government so it can’t regulate. It works: tobacco still kills over 400,000 Americans a year and it’s still legal — and still very, very profitable. Revise and extend the model and you have today’s conservative movement – a pay for play operation serving the biggest companies.
Meanwhile, here is one more reason the big corporations are opposing things like wind energy: Wind’s latest problem: it … makes power too cheap.

The key thing here is that we are beginning to unveil what I’ve labelled the dirty secret of wind: utilities don’t like wind not because it’s not competitive, but because it brings prices down for their existing assets, thus lowering their revenues and their profits.

Never forget the 11 workers who were killed.

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