Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is emerging as a fierce critic of the Obama administration's proposed escrow fund to handle damage claims against BP.On the one hand, it's kind of hard to argue against the "redistribution-of-wealth" line. After all, this is technically true. By that same token, whenever I buy a ham sandwich, that is also a redistribution of wealth. Ditto putting quarters in parking meters, paying my electrical bill, and collecting my salary. Since the only alternative to redistributing one's wealth is to hoard it, Bachmann has a point, even if it's hilariously daft.
The Minnesota Independent reports that Bachmann spoke Tuesday to the Heritage Foundation, and badmouthed the idea. "The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund," said Bachmann. "And now it appears like we'll be looking at one more gateway for more government control, more money to government."
Now, while I'm not expert, it seems to be that BP is probably criminally negligent and certainly civilly liable for the Gulf oil spill. That they are a monstrously rich international mega-corporation does not somehow change their obligations when they screw up. And, just like the rest of us when we screw up and cause damages to others, they should have to pay for it. "Paying for it" will mean redistributing some of their wealth, just like when anyone else has to pay damages or fines. The inflammatory rhetoric doesn't change the justice.
Along those lines, I'm not entirely sure what Bachmann is getting at with "administered by outsiders." When I get a speeding ticket [confidential to readers who may or may not be my parents -- this is fleetingly rare], I do not get to determine how my fine is spent. If Bachmann is arguing that BP executives are the best people to evaluate the claims against BP, I would counter that there may be some conflicts of interest and questionable objectivity at play in that scenario.
At the end of the day, however, the underlying lunacy of the arguments is dwarfed by the fact that, God help her, Michele Bachmann appears to be going to bat for BP.