June 1, 2010
Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich has gotten it wrong yet again. Writing in today's Christian Science Monitor, he argues that "Its time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BPs operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped." It's time, in other words, for Barack Obama and his appointees to seize control of a private firm.
Why? According to Reich, "This is the only way the public can know whats going on, be confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher, ensure BPs strategy is correct, know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary, and be sure the President is ultimately in charge."
One by one:
(1) "This is the only way the public can know whats going on." Does Mr. Reich seriously believe that the federal government will ensure transparency? Is he having a premature senior moment, or is his faith in the ethics of Washington so stridently naive that he actually believes that federal control means federal integrity? Big government is the antithesis of accountability. Examples are legion and common. This is a remarkable assertion for a one-time Cabinet Secretary, and perhaps demonstrates as clearly as anything we ever are likely to see why, for the Left, government is always the answer: This asseveration is, for Mr. Reich and his liberal colleagues, an article not of intelligence or experience but of blind, shimmering faith.
(2) "Confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher." Yes, I believe that every federal dollar ever spent is spent wisely and responsibly. I believe that more money equals greater efficiency and efficacy. I believe that the private sector invariably is more inept than the government. I believe that little green men are dancing on my window pane.
(3) "Ensure BPs strategy is correct." Ah yes, once again, the all-wise in Washington will be able to determine, with their studied dispassion and native brilliance, that one of the world's oldest and largest petroleum firms is using the "correct" strategy. How silly of anyone to question the self-apparent genius of Mr. Reich and his coterie of federal Gnostic-like initiates.
(4) "Know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary." Go get 'em, Bob - let's force the ignorant, venal, and incompetent heads of BP to do what Carol Browner thinks best. BP is a private firm, and thus, in the Reichian world view, inherently tainted. How dare we leave it to BP executives, scientists, etc. to resolve this problem.
(5) "Be sure the President is ultimately in charge." The cappo-di-cappo of all solutions: Give more authority to the nation's Chief Executive. I thought liberals were worried about concentrations of power and believe in democracy (pure, that is) so dogmatically. Ah, but I forgot we're talking about a liberal President, Barack Obama, no less, who by definition is wise beyond ordinary human comprehension. Don't know what came over me...
Robert Reich is a statist. At least he admits it. That his faith in government is puerile and frightening is a part of the intellectual equation he would prefer we ignore.