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Who Will Pay for the Unemployed Oil Workers?
Nearly two months have passed since the incident in the Gulf and the Obama administration has seized this moment in an attempt to further control the oil industry; imposing a six month moratorium on drilling in the gulf that will effectively force thousands of workers out of a job and further regulate a fragile industry. Originally the administration lamented in a letter to BP that taxpayers would not foot the bill for their mistake, concurrently compelling the company to create a $20 billion escrow fund to cover costs of the cleanup.
Mere hours after the administration and BP agreed to this decision, Carol Browner, the White House Energy Czar told reporters that the administration is seeking the help of Congress to fund the “unemployment insurance portion” of laid-off oil employees. This is on top of the $100 million the White House “suggested” BP set aside to fund the unemployed, disallowing the newly jobless workers from applying for a portion of the $20 billion escrow fund. Browner’s response for additionally asking congress to fund unemployment insurance was a result of not all unemployed workers being covered in the $100 million. Which leaves us to question why the White House is choosing to have taxpayers mop up leftover expenses as opposed to the $20 billion set aside by BP? Perhaps the President forgot about his claim that BP would cover all costs of the spill?
Additionally, a reporter mentioned that between the time the government can hand out money and the time out-of-work oil employees have to pay mortgages along with other daily costs of living, it may be too late to salvage the loss in income. This ultimately spells out a mandated closure of oil wells, with unemployment subsidies funded by taxpayers arriving to laid-off workers too late. Sure seems like the administration is on top of this disaster, doesn’t it?