Someone tell me why we didn’t nationalize BP assets in the U.S., fire the board of directors and other high-level managers, and then use the assets to fix all of the problems–including the unemployment caused by the spill. Because this sounds like the clarion calls of freedom and liberty to me (italics mine):
In the first few days after BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead exploded, spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, cleanup workers could be seen on Louisiana beaches wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with the words “Inmate Labor” printed in large red block letters. Coastal residents, many of whom had just seen their livelihoods disappear, expressed outrage at community meetings; why should BP be using cheap or free prison labor when so many people were desperate for work? The outfits disappeared overnight.
Work crews in Grand Isle, Louisiana, still stand out. In a region where nine out of ten residents are white, the cleanup workers are almost exclusively African-American men. The racialized nature of the cleanup is so conspicuous that Ben Jealous, the president of the NAACP, sent a public letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward on July 9, demanding to know why black people were over-represented in “the most physically difficult, lowest paying jobs, with the most significant exposure to toxins.”
Hiring prison labor is more than a way for BP to save money while cleaning up the biggest oil spill in history. By tapping into the inmate workforce, the company and its subcontractors get workers who are not only cheap but easily silenced–and they get lucrative tax write-offs in the process.
I suppose BP could import Hessians to guard its facilities too. That would help. Prisoners working on a chain gang for a foreign company: that Democrats have not been able to capitalize on this shows that they have the political instincts of a moldy turnip.
Also, it really sucks as policy too.
Bonus related video: