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Rep. Paul: Free Market Would Have Kept BP Responsible

D. Gaking
Lysander Spooner Institute Blog
June 15, 2010

In an interview today on CNBC's Street Signs, Congressman Ron Paul discussed who is responsible for the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. While many conservatives and libertarians blame the government and President Obama for the disaster, Rep. Paul (who identifies himself as both conservative and libertarian) puts the primary blame on BP.

Rep. Paul said that Obama and Bush both took too much heat for the disasters that happened during their terms. "There are sort of limits on what the government can do," Paul said. "I just think that we've developed a culture where everything is to be solved by the government."

The Congressman suggested a free market scenario that would have prevented the disaster:

If you would have had property rights, somebody would have owned the fishing rights, and oil drillers couldn't go in there unless they had permission from the fisherman... There would be bonds put up, and there would have to be provisions for accidents like this.

But no, government gives them permission. They limit the liability of the oil companies, and then they say the taxpayer will pick up. That's a moral hazard, by saying the government is going to inspect and give the license and protect everybody. So it is the system that is wrong, rather than saying, 'well, the government just hasn't done enough.' They probably did too much too soon, and we would should think about another approach to problems like this.

Dr. Paul also talked briefly about the Washington Post allegations that his investments in gold create a conflict of interest with his position on the House Financial Services Committee. You can watch the entire interview below.

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