BP Shakedown?

by Mario Rizzo  

I do not know, at this point, whether BP was negligent or grossly negligent in its drilling and related activities leading to the Gulf oil-spill. They may well have been but I leave that to further investigation.  

It seems, however, the federal government’s regulatory policy was and continues to be a mess, as Chidem points out. The moral outrage of the Congress and the Administration in view of their “gross negligence” or worse is absurd, but not unusual.  

Nevertheless, these are not the only issues.  

Congressman Joe Barton (R. Texas) accused the Obama Administration of a “shakedown,” that is, some form of extralegal extortion, in getting BP to set up a $20 billion compensation fund. He was forced to apologize by his political masters.  Continue reading

Regime Uncertainty During The Great Depression

by Mario Rizzo


The destabilizing “regime uncertainty” that has been analyzed by the economist Robert Higgs was already seen after the first few years of FDR’s administration by one of its most influential members, Raymond Moley.


He had been an economic advisor to Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. He was a conservative Democrat who quit the administration in mid-1936 because he thought it was moving too far to the left.  


What Roosevelt and others saw as an “experimental” or “pragmatic” turn was, in reality, a confusing and destabilizing mix of ill thought-out policies and rhetoric. Continue reading