Mike Lee: Taxpayers Ought to Bail Out BP

Via Think Progress:

A week ago, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee sat down with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Robert Gehrke for a wide-ranging interview. When asked if taxpayers ought to pay the economic costs of the BP oil spill, Lee answered candidly.

SL TRIBUNE: Currently there’s a cap on liabilities that BP is expected to pay $75 million dollars. There’s legislation that Bill Nelson sponsored to increase that liability to $10 billion dollars. The oil companies say that will put them out of business. Is that something you would be supportive of, increasing that cap on liability for environmental damage?


SL TRIBUNE: Why is that?

LEE: This company is reliant, the entire industry, is reliant on the insurance its provided by law. Now had that cap not been in place, we would be facing a completely different question. But you have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity and allows us to produce more oil and allows more of our petro dollars to remain in the United States. We’ve relied on that, and to take that away I think would be a mistake.

SL TRIBUNE: Does that leave taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage?

LEE: Well yea probably does. And the government can look at that and say look, we put this damages cap in place, so we understood what that meant.

SL TRIBUNE: Isn’t that equivalent to a bailout?

LEE: I don’t think, well, I don’t think that’s equivalent to a bailout. I think that’s the government saying there’s some things its going to — if you look at the Outer Continental Shelf, something over which the United States has jurisdiction, and the United State wants to clean that up, then it’s free to do so. There’s nothing in that liability cap that requires the Federal government to do it. Well I’m not sure that necessarily means the taxpayers will end up paying the bill. It maybe the industry generally will just contribute to it. In fact I would expect other people involved in offshore drilling will have a part of the clean up because they would want to to show this can be done safely and when disasters do happen it can be cleaned up.

Mike Lee’s philosophy is what I call “Wall Street Socialism.” Corporations want to privatize their profits and socialize their losses (or simply dump negative externalities like oil spills on the public). Bumper-sticker version: “Taxpayer Bailouts for Billionaires.”

Vote for Sam Granato, or else this guy will be our new senator.

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  1. #1 by James Farmer on June 25, 2010 - 12:31 pm

    The best thing about Mike Lee winning the repug primary is he is so far out on the wingnut-o-meter scale, that maybe even reasonable Utah wingnuts will see the danger in this idiot and vote for Granato.

    We can hope!!!

  2. #2 by brewski on June 25, 2010 - 2:18 pm

    The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 was passed by a Democratic house and senate, authored by a Democrat and passed the house 375-5.
    Glad to see the Democrats standing up for the little guy against those big mean ol’ evil Republicans.

  3. #3 by Richard Warnick on June 25, 2010 - 2:43 pm

    First of all, 20 years ago Congress was focused on the Exxon Valdez fiasco. Which was small compared to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, and contained in one area. That’s why the policy has to be updated.

    Secondly, Mike Lee and his fellow Republicans are still not smart enough to cool it with the “drill baby drill” stuff, e.g. Governors Haley Barbour and Bobby Jindal. And some Democrats, too, like Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

    Not to mention President Obama, who got on the “drill baby drill” bandwagon just a couple of weeks before it exploded in a huge ball of flame.

    Let’s try not to get stuck with paying for the malfeasance of oil companies the way we got stuck with bailing out Wall Street billionaires.

  4. #4 by whatever happened to yellow snow? on June 25, 2010 - 4:46 pm

    A man was driving down the road and he ran out of gas. Just at that moment, a bee flew in his window.

    The bee said, “What seems to be the problem?”

    “I’m out of gas,” the man replied.

    The bee told the man to wait right there and flew away. A few Minutes later, the man watched as an entire swarm of bees flew to his car and into his gas tank. After a few minutes, the bees flew out.

    “Try it now,” said one bee.

    The man turned the ignition key and the car started right up. “Wow!” the man exclaimed, “what did you put in my gas tank?”

    The bee answered,

    You’re going to love this…


  5. #5 by Larry Bergan on June 25, 2010 - 8:54 pm

    privatize their profits and socialize their losses

    That’s exactly it!

    Lee is what the Republicans call “a rising star.” I can just imagine the interviewer was sitting there with his mouth hanging open.

    Just what Utah needed; another “leader” to embarrass us constantly. How old is this guy, 28? He probably had a picture of Ronald Reagan hanging over his crib.

  6. #6 by Uncle Rico on June 26, 2010 - 7:01 am

    “LEE: I don’t think, well, I don’t think that’s equivalent to a bailout. I think that’s the government saying there’s some things its going to —”

    Come on Mike, you’re among friends so just say it: SUBSIDIZE. All together now: “I think that’s the government saying there’s some things its going to SUBSIDIZE.”

    Just so we’re all clear: you claim to oppose a redistribution of wealth through programs such as “Obamacare,” but you also believe that the we the taxpayers (i.e., the government) ought to crutch (foreign) private, for profit enterprises by paying a portion of their operational costs. Is that about right?

    Hypocrisy police, where you at?

  7. #7 by James Farmer on June 26, 2010 - 11:02 am

    Uncle R:

    As I said, modern technology is going to have to redesign and recalibrate an entirely new wingnut-o-meter to accommodate and monitor Mike Lee; excepting, however, for the liar-o-meter which, for Lee, will just show a constant maximum output!

  8. #8 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on June 27, 2010 - 6:37 am


    Red herring. Irrelevant to the topic.


  9. #9 by cav on June 27, 2010 - 7:21 am

    Good Sunday morning. Six thousand years ago, God created the Universe.

    If you’ve ever wondered why wingnut government has some growing-up to do.

  10. #10 by Cliff Lyon on July 1, 2010 - 5:51 am

    It is absolutely maddening that the Granato campaign appears unable to make hay about this. Even Cherilyn Eagar has made more of a stink about it than Sam.

    After all we’ve learned about netroots strategy, Sam Granato’s website does not even have a blog.

    Who is running his campaign?

  11. #11 by cav on July 1, 2010 - 6:49 am

    Joe Lieberman?

  12. #12 by Larry Bergan on July 2, 2010 - 12:39 am

    Good point Cliff.

    I have been a democrat all my life and if I didn’t come to this site, I wouldn’t even know who was running against Mike Lee. Democrats just don’t seem to have the fire in their belly anymore.

  13. #13 by Uncle Rico on July 11, 2010 - 7:01 am

    More good stuff from Mike Lee. Utah needs this guy!

  14. #14 by Melinda Wallace on September 27, 2010 - 11:24 pm

    This is outrageous. I read the book, “The Day They Bombed Utah” and I honestly believe that Utahn’s just don’t care. Mike Lee has fought to import nuclear waste from Italy into Utah, limit liabilities for the BP oil spill, allow Blue Cross Blue Shield to drop insurance coverage for extremely sick Utah children, repeal the 14th and 17th Amendments and deny that the burning of fossil fuel contributes to global climate change. Are there any sane, educated, rational voters who would vote for this man? Meanwhile, the Democrats have just rolled over and played dead as if to ignore what is happening. Where is the national media? Where is the outcry? I just don’t understand.

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