"I've authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, they're ready to help clean the beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims -- and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible."
It seems to me that using the National Guard for "processing claims" is a bad idea. National Guardsmen usually have regular day jobs. If the government needs claims-processors, why not simply hire them anew from the vast pool of unemployed Americans, or use the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or use Census workers who were scheduled to be laid off when their Census work winds down? A Census worker is used to filling out paperwork using a clipboard. A National Guardsman is used to patrolling with a gun or fighting a war. Many of these guardsmen have already been mobilized for Iraq and for Katrina at some cost to their regular employers. Why place the burden of claims processing on the military?
"Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party."
There's no mention of what legal authority the president is acting under by which he might "inform" the chairman of a private company to turn over "whatever resources are required" to a third party. That may well be because the president has no such legal authority. Where's the rule of law here?
"One place we've already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility -- a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. "
This is a classic Obama straw man. If the philosophy really held that corporations should police themselves, the MMS would have been disbanded entirely. And speaking of "industry insiders" being "put in charge of industry oversight," this is the same President Obama whose chairman of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, was paid $5.2 million a year for a one-day-a-week job at the D.E. Shaw hedge fund, and whose director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Robert Khuzami, spent from 2002 to 2009 as a top in-house lawyer at Deutsche Bank.
The Associated Press has a skeptical "fact check" debunking some of Mr. Obama's spin.