Saturday, June 19, 2010

Politician More Concerned with Oil Industry than Everyday Citizens

It shouldn't come as a big surprise that an elected official is more concerned with the pockets of big business (and of the elected official himself) than with the pockets of the electorate. That's politics as usual in the United States; it's the way we, the common people, have come to accept.

Usually, though, this way of doing things is the elephant in the room--everyone knows it's there, but few people speak about it. Representative Joe Barton, a Republican representative from Texas, pushed the envelope too far on Thursday, June 17, 2010 when he made an apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward.

Barton, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was speaking at a congressional hearing with the BP head honcho. Barton preceded all other remarks to Hayward by apologizing to the corporate head about the White House's insistence that an escrow fund be established into which BP would ultimately pay $20 billion in installments--money to be paid to claimants from the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Barton called the escrow fund a "shakedown" of the oil company.

Republican party leaders were not amused by Barton's words and insisted the representative apologize for his escrow fund apology. Barton returned to the congressional hearing in the afternoon and said he was sorry if any of his words had been misconstrued, because he did hold BP responsible for the accident.

Perhaps the former ARCO exec simply had misplaced allegiance; perhaps he was thinking about his campaign coffers and how he has received more contributions from oil companies than any other politician in the last 20 years. Whatever Barton was thinking of, it wasn't me or any of my neighbors--or any of yours, either.

Personally, I find the congressional hearing a waste of time and so much hot air. The wheels of government move slowly, and those of the federal government move also imperceptibly. The escrow fund establishes accountability for actions/inactions on the part of BP; how refreshing is that?

I hope Barton's constituents are hearing what their elected official is saying--and I hope it is reflected at the polls the next time this man comes up for re-election.

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