The BP oil spill will certainly cause harm for many years, but eventually clean-up efforts and nature's rejuvenating power will bring the Gulf Coast back to normal. The spill might however provide enough political will for the Obama Administration to push through major new spending programs, which may well have more pernicious and longer-lasting effects than the original oil disaster.
A typical example of the "never let a crisis go to waste" thinking appeared on the Sunday New York Times op-ed page, in a pretentious father-son dialogue about the future of the planet, titled "Generations in the Balance." Historian Tony Judt readily dismisses the energy source that provides 35% of the world's energy:
[B]ig oil has no long-term future: sooner or later the contemptible little sheikdoms that have arisen upon a pool of liquid greed will sink back into the desert.
Apparently respect for multicultural diversity does not apply to those who trade in oil. Jolt continues:
What we need is a Marshall Plan for the 50 states. Federal money raised from defense savings and, yes, taxes - a loan to our successors - should be made available on condition it is spent on public infrastructure, mass transit, renewable energy and education. Anything less is unworthy of the crisis that a 60,000-barrel-a-day leak has unleashed. Are you up to it? If you want to change the world, you had better be willing to fight for a long time. And there will be sacrifices. Do you really care enough or are you just offended at disturbing pictures?
Mr. Judt proposes another massive redistribution of wealth from taxpayers to public sector and teachers unions. More mass transit and renewable energy boondoggles. More slush fund money to Democrat insiders. This qualifies as sacrifice? Political corruption is a fact of life, but it's galling to see it promoted under the highfalutin banner of changing the world. Judt describes his Marshall Plan as a "loan to our successors." Given that another enormous spending program would have to be financed with borrowed money, it's precisely the opposite-an unsecured loan from our successors.