Gulf Coast Looting Spree

How do you strike it rich in the Age of Obama? Not by working hard — that would just produce wealth to be confiscated. You need to be one of the confiscators — like the spillionaires on the Gulf Coast, where BP has had its arm twisted into “spreading the wealth around” to the tune of $16 billion.

To show how the money flowed, ProPublica interviewed people who worked on the spill and examined records for St. Bernard Parish, a coastal community about five miles southeast of downtown New Orleans.

Those documents show that companies with ties to parish insiders got lucrative contracts and then charged BP for every possible expense. The prime cleanup company submitted bills with little or no documentation. A subcontractor billed BP $15,400 per month to rent a generator that usually cost $1,500 a month. Another company charged BP more than a $1 million a month for land it had been renting for less than $1,700 a month.

The looting spree has been a boon to the local economy:

Sales tax collections from Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish rose more than 71 percent. And St. Bernard had a bigger jump than anywhere. That parish collected almost $26.8 million in sales and lodging tax receipts in the six months after the spill, almost twice as much as over the same period in 2009. Flush with cash from cleanup and claims, many fishermen bought new boats and trucks. Sales at the nearest Chevrolet dealer rose 41 percent.

Unsurprisingly, bureaucrats have fared especially well.

Some of the money also went to overtime pay for more than 40 parish employees, including three who claimed overtime for picking up dog food for the animal shelter. St. Bernard’s homeland security director, David Dysart, a salaried employee, got almost $23,000 for working 497 hours of overtime in less than seven weeks….

As can be expected under crony capitalist Obamanomics,

Many companies and people earning big money in St. Bernard Parish had connections to parish powerbrokers, according to court documents, parish records and interviews done by ProPublica.

The cash looted from BP did help some of the local fishermen as promised.

One man who earned $67,000 in 2009, fishing crabs and hunting a swamp rat called nutria, got $100,000 for his six-month claim. That was on top of $90,000 for working on the cleanup and $20,000 he received in initial BP claims. In the eight months after the spill, he made $210,000, more than three times his 2009 income.

But you needn’t be a fisherman to cash in — just be shameless enough to file a claim:

Many fishermen fretted that businesses that had been hurt by the recession, not the spill, were getting BP money: hairdressers, waiters, restaurant owners.

Felesia Carter, a manager at St. Bernard’s only off-track betting parlor, said customers were gambling away claims money. Her business was so good, she said, that employees worked overtime.

Too bad the party can’t last. As a wise woman once observed, eventually you run out of other people’s money.

Unlike expropriating wealth, creating it is sustainable, but only if our rulers allow it. Tragically, Obama has used the spilt oil — which nature quickly cleaned up — as a pretext not just to loot his old financiers at BP, but to strangle the oil production that was a major pillar of the Gulf economy.

gulf oil moratorium
After the looting comes a grim future.

On a tip from AC. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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