Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - June 13, 2010

Brian Gongol

Some links from tonight's show: And a thought on the news highlight of the evening: The White House is talking about getting BP to pile lots of money into an escrow fund to pay for the damage in the Gulf of Mexico. While this sounds on the surface like a good idea (of course they should pay for their share of the damage created), it's not appropriate for the government to start issuing demands like this without going through the proper course of legal action.

Some people will counter that the courts will take too long to get to the cases. But that just shines a spotlight on the fact that the legal system itself isn't working correctly -- not that we should go to extra-legal means (and by that, I mean steps that have no sufficient legal authority) to solve the problem.

If the government can start issuing orders about how much a company owes in damages without going through a judicial process, then what is to stop the President from confiscating a controlling interest in BP? The threat alone of a massive set of liabilities against BP could be enough to push the company into bankruptcy. Just because we're (rightly) angry at the behavior of a company for causing damage doesn't mean we should authorize our government to act outside the law. The rule of law means that we decide the rules first, then punish or reward people (and companies) according to those rules -- not decide that we want to punish and then go about setting the rules.