Here is the second in my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon. Today’s edition was drawn by Bruce Beattie last month.
Look! It’s an oil-drenched bird bringing the guy his dividend check. Oh, the tragic irony!
Eh, not so much.
See, President Obama strong-armed BP into ponying up $20 billion to fund clean-up along the Gulf Coast and to help people whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected by the spill. But try as I may, I can’t find anything in either Section 2 or 3 of Article II in the Constitution that grants President Obama the authority to tell a foreign-owned company how to spend its money here. But much of what President Obama has done so far has been outside of his Constitutional powers.
But back to the dividend checks. The $20 billion isn’t coming from the coffers of BP. Instead, BP has suspended paying out any dividends to its stockholders to raise the money. So who is being given the bill for the BP payout? Could be you, if you own any BP stock or mutual funds that contain BP stocks, and about 40% of BP is owned by Americans. I sure hope you aren’t living off your investments, because President Obama has just taken some of your money.
What should he have done? There are billions of unspent stimulus money that should have been used. Then President Obama could have recovered the money by using the Justice Department to sue BP for any criminal negligence that contributed to the disaster. That would have freed up money to people harmed by the spill as well as keep paying out dividends to BP stock-holders.