With the recent oil spill, we are seeing a perfect example of the dangers of campaign contributions which allow businesses to “purchase law” in America.
The “purchase-your-own-law” process:
(1) Nothing happens in American business without insurance. Nothing.
(2) Smart insurance actuaries calculate the risk and costs of cleaning up nuclear explosions and oil spills. They reject underwriting this risk because the liability and clean-up costs are incalculable. They find the impact of the hazard is simply too unpredictable.
(3) Oil, nuclear, and insurance corporations contribute to congressional campaigns and low liability caps are inserted into federal law. With unpredictable risks shifted to the taxpayer, insurers now write insurance. Nuclear explosions per site have a $300M cap under the Price-Anderson Act, which is free, government-granted insurance given to a for-profit industry. Caps also apply to offshore oil platform operators, which are gifted a $75M liability cap under the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Act. (For another day: Federal loan guarantees of $700B shift the risk of a simple business failure for nuclear to the taxpayer.)
Voila. Taxpayers underwrite unlimited risks for the for-profit insurance industry which itself declared that the risk was uninsurable. Simple answer: greatly limit campaign contributions. Despite the pontifications of our current Supreme Court, corporations should not have the ability to purchase law in America.
Bart Costello, Esq.