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Obama Making BP Pay Is Good Government, and That's Why Republicans and the Corporate Media Are Freaking Out

 Last week, the nation witnessed an act of good governance when the Obama administration put the full-court press on oil giant BP to set aside $20 billion in assets to compensate the thousands of Americans whose livelihoods -- and in some cases, lives -- are being devastated by the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. It was an example of exactly what government is supposed to do; whatever it can, within the limits of the law, to protect its citizens' interests.

Team Obama was shrewd to get a fund set up now, with the nation's outrage focused on the calamity, rather than allow the company's army of lawyers to drag a settlement through the courts for years. The agreement, entered into voluntarily by BP, ensures that the firm can't escape legal judgments by paying out all of its current profits as shareholder dividends and then claiming insolvency.

The fund is about the equivalent of a year of BP's profits -- the Associated Press called the sum "a drop in a very large bucket" for the company, and reported that BP could raise the cash "without batting an eye." It will be administered by an independent third party -- the same administrator who handled billions of dollars worth of claims stemming from the attacks of 9/11. And President Obama secured it using little more than his bully pulpit and the pressure it allowed him to put on BP execs.  


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