BP'S ETHICAL CURVEBALL

Not to worry, insists BP in its ongoing PR push to buff up its polluted image, we're going to make this right – the cleanup, the economic loss, all of it will be paid for by us.

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Not to worry, insists BP in its ongoing PR push to buff up its polluted image, we’re going to make this right – the cleanup, the economic loss, all of it will be paid for by us.

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Well… not quite. In its second quarter report of financial results, the British-based oil giant reveals that its Gulf oil catastrophe will add up to a $32.2 billion loss for the corporation. However, says the report, investors can take some comfort in the fact that BP expects to get a $10-billion subsidy from Uncle Sugar to help cover the costs.

Say what? Excuse me while my brain explodes! Not only did the company’s top executives assure us that this whole god-awful mess would be on their dime, but so did our top government officials. As President Obama flatly declared in May: “We will demand they pay every dime they owe for the damage they have done.” Even Rep. Joe Barton – the GOP gooberhead who so obsequiously apologized to BP’s CEO for America’s insistence that he set up a corporate fund to compensate victims – was forced to backtrack and say that, of course, he expects BP to pay the tab.

So what the hell is this $10-billion hit on us taxpayers? It’s yet another little corporate gotcha that lobbyists quietly got tucked into our tax code, allowing huge firms to grab a credit for up to 35-percent of their losses. The damages and cleanup being paid by BP, says one tax expert, are “just another cost of doing business,” so they qualify for all applicable corporate breaks. After all, says another expert, while BP said it would pay the costs of the cleanup, it “never promised that it would not seek any deductions” to recoup those costs from American taxpayers.

Tricky, huh? Once again we learn that to get a top job in CorporateWorld, you must first check all of your ethics at the door.

"The issue isn't just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages." --Jim Hightower


“Lawmakers roll our measures to respond to oil spill issues,” Austin American Statesman, July 28, 2010.

“BP to cut U.S. tax bill by $10 billion because of losses in gulf spill,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/27/AR2010072704437.html, July 27, 2010.

“President Obama: ‘BP is responsible for this horrific disaster,'” http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/05/obama-bp-is-responsible-for-this-horrific-disaster.html, May 27, 2010.

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