Since we've been recording this saga since day 1, it only makes sense to embed a copy of Obama's Oval Office response to the spill. For what it's worth, as one of the authors of this blog, I think Obama is doing the best he can. There is so much backlash regarding his response to this disaster, and I understand the overwhelming anxiety and frustration associated with pain that JUST WON'T STOP. I also am very disappointed with some of Obama's other broken promises regarding habeas corpis and maranda rights readings, not to mention Gitmo. I am not going to defend the President because he is "one of ours." I consider myself a Lincoln Republican. But politics aside, all the talking heads trying to use this catastrophe as a rallying point against the President are frankly disgusting. The latest bitching and moaning session by Jack Welch on CNBC is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. How does this guy, who built up his company's financial opacity to the limits before handing the reigns over to his successor at the very moment his company had nothing left to gain, have a right to say anything about Obama or any President's ability to keep the masses from outright strike? Don't get me wrong, I'm aware of the God-like tenor of Mr. Welch in business circles, and I will give the man respect for running GE into and through its most prosperous times in history. However, Six-sigma standards, whereby you get to axe the bottom 10% of your already elite workforce is not an option for the President of the United States. For better or worse, President Obama must keep peace in this country and ensure that the "bottom 10%" of a population that is not pre-filtered does not find meaning in their lives by rallying against the government and the rest of the elite (like Mr. Welch) over something they do not fully understand. Mr. Welch implies that a business man (presumably like himself) is able to handle this crisis better than a politician:
"Here's the difference between a businessman and a politician: Businessmen focus on solutions. Politicians focus on 'who can we blame?'" he said. "We have to be managers right now, not politicians. No photo ops."
Well, Mr. Welch, this is what I have to say in response to you: First off, as of 2008, BP was the 15th largest company in the entire world by market capitalization. So I think it is safe to say that it has some of the best and most qualified "business men" in the world representing them, running the triage for this catastrophe--and as several previous posts on this blog have revealed (consider Lies, Lies, and More Lies: Hey BP, Does It Pay to Not Tell the Truth When So Many People Are on to You?), these same business men have not been all that honest about the extent of damage this crisis is causing; secondly, the way this country works, if you have not noticed, Mr. Welch, is government cannot really get into a private company's business unless they do something utterly wrong. That is, unless of course, the government is helping your profits (consider the Cheney Halliburton Connection). Thus, if business men such as BP and the rest of the execs from the other companies involved in this mess are better equipped with dealing with this mess, then why the heck is it exacerbating further after nearly two months. If you do not want politicians involved then do not cut corners--lest they cause catastrophes that garner public scrutiny--and when a mess occurs be honest, forthright, and throw your entire weight into the problem--as opposed to spending three weeks calculating what the most profitable "solution" to the problem is. Lastly, Regarding politicians focusing on "who to blame" as opposed to "finding a solution," I posit that BP's inability to find a solution has created a much bigger problem than you disgustingly rich CEO's can possibly fathom because you live in a bubble of largess only achievable in the first place because the skilled politicians of this country manage to mitigate the backlash of the people when $hit like this hits the fan. Rather than ripping on the President, Mr. Welch, you should be shaking his hand, thanking him, and offering whatever support you can to solve the problem--since that's what business men do so well.
Full Disclosure: I have owned GE stock in two separate accounts for 11 years and up until about 7 years ago thought of Jack Welch as a God, until I learned about some of the shady business practices and accounting tricks he engaged in while serving as Captain of the falling ship that is GE.