Saturday, June 5, 2010

Accounting for the Risks...

While listening to Obama's discussion with the press about BP and the oil spill one part of what he said stood out to me.

The money quote is:
"Given the fact they (BP) didn't fully account for the risks I don't want someone else bearing the costs of those risks that they took."
My immediate response to that statement was "then why the hell are we, the American taxpayer, bearing the costs of bailing out all of these different companies who didn't manage their risks?"

This isn't about the oil spill. That is a terrible event that is being dealt with and is a by-product of our worldwide need for energy.

What I want to bitch about is how our government creates moral hazards all the time with large corporations. If you peruse this list you can see the billions of dollars sent to hundreds of recipients. What exactly did Freddie and Fannie May do to manage their risks? And GM? These companies collectively received $243 Billion in support because they didn't manage their risks properly. They didn't really have to because they knew that the US government would come in and save them so they could afford to take more risks then would normally be allowed.

If we had a more pure capitalistic system in place where government wouldn't bail out a failing company then maybe these companies would manage their risk better and wouldn't have been in a position of failing? At some point, we have to stop continuing to bail out failing companies because "they are too large to fail". If they didn't manage their risk then let them fail.

The same goes for union pension funds and over extended city governments.

So I wish President Obama would apply his stated logic on BP to the hundreds of failing companies and to any future requests to bail out pension funds and city/state governments... but something inside of me says that this is just rhetorical statements on his part to look tough on this oil spill.