Oil Is The New Greece

Amid the happy talk about that boring old oil spill that is, according to the media, practically gone anyway, a few plutocratic asses let out some pretty ripe one-cheek sneaks over the past day or so, and the room has gotten awfully humid and stinky.  Remember Moody’s?  The bond rating service that thought CDO’s were the best thing since Viagra, or in this case, Beano?  Well, it turns out that they just couldn’t help themselves after that last taxpayer-funded Super Burrito they ate, and the fact that the Gulf Coast is, for credit-rating purposes, has been reduced to a combination of Somalia and Lindsay Lohan, just slipped out. Count on that one to clear the room.

A Moody’s report released Tuesday on the potential impact of the oil spill on Florida warns it could hurt the state on a major scale.

Wait a minute.  I just heard BP say that this oil was just a thimble or so, compared to, you know, all the oceans on earth.

“The state’s high dependence on tourism dollars and jobs is significant and a gradually worsening disaster associated with any part of Florida’s 1,197 coastline miles could likely have long-term implications even greater than the recent global recession or Hurricane Ivan in 2004,” said Moody’s Investor Service analyst and senior credit officer Edith Behr.

In effect, the impact could simulate a double dip to the economy in a state already struggling more than most to emerge from one of the country’s worst recessions.

Oh, you mean the one that was caused by that other wave of deregulation you loved and profited from, Moody’s?

Here’s how the Moody’s scenario could happen.

Florida, as well as gulf coast cities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, may see credit ratings cut because of the BP oil spill, if tourism falls and property values drop. The spill may have “severe” effects if it reaches coastal communities on Florida’s Panhandle since they rely so heavily on tourism and the state depends on sales taxes from the region.

“Cities, towns, school districts, and counties will likely experience a decline in property tax values, which will necessitate a reduction in services or an increase in other revenue to maintain current rating levels,” Behr said.

In turn, lower ratings may raise borrowing costs for state and local governments in the region as investors in the $2.8 trillion municipal-bond market demand higher yields to compensate for increased risk.

Moody’s rates the credit quality of borrowers in the market. Tax revenue is likely to fall over the long term for coastal cities, which may force cutbacks in services, Behr said.

“A majority of statewide bonds are secured by special taxes including tourist taxes and sales taxes,” the report said. “Also, with sales taxes constituting the state’s primary revenue source, further reductions in this revenue would have negative implications on school district funding statewide.”

Here we go again.  The exact same people who caused the crisis are at the ready with “solutions” that, surprise, benefit them to everyone else’s detriment.  Nice work if you can get it.

It will all depend on the extent of damage from the oil spill. And that, Behr said, remains too early to tell.

The neatest thing about being a right-winger is that your failures, played right, can all turn into triumphs at the end.  You can destroy things and bet on their destruction, you can make money on wars won or lost, and best of all, you can make the whole rest of the world pay for it all.  You can blather on about “personal responsibility” while exhibiting none, be it with the environment or your generations-younger staffer.  Sadly for them, though, even once full-on corporatism has been accomplished, sometimes the corporations disagree, and in odd cases that can produce a situation in which actual citizens might get a vote on a matter.  Just like when the health insurers decided to double rates in the midst of the HCR debate, ol’ Moody’s accidentally punctured the notion that the teeny little unpleasantness in the Gulf of which BP et al daily spoke was anything but a world-changing catastrophe, innocently hoping to stir up a little business on the down side.

Like they did in Greece.  Can’t blame them for trying, of course….   It’s certainly worked before.


  1. rmp says:

    BP has clearly downplayed the tourism impact. They are doing something on the PR front which shows how callous they are:

    Besides a stealth TV “tourism” campaign, the oil giant is giving its local agents a blank check to “diffuse or deflect negative commentary” about the Deepwater Horizon spill.

    They also don’t give a damn about the impact on the Vietnamese immigrant fishermen:

    A third of the fishers affected by BP’s catastrophic oil spill are Vietnamese—and they don’t have equal access to restitution payments and other aid. Brentin Mock reports on one of America’s most unique immigrant communities.

    • cocktailhag says:

      For this bunch, nothing matters except the PR. It’s quite Nixonian, really. Reality does eventually intrude, though, and then what?

  2. dirigo says:

    Elvis: “You ain’t nuthin’ but a hound dog.”

    Nixon: “I am not a crook.”

    Reagan: “It’s morning in America.”

    Clinton: “I didn’t inhale.”

    Bush: “People misunderestimate me.”

    Blumenthal: “I misspoke, a few times.”

    BP: “It’s a drop in the bucket.”

    Mick Jagger: “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

  3. michlib says:

    I bet if Brit Hume squints his eyes and looks real hard, he might be able to see some of the oil on the Loisiana shore now. Idiots -corporate shill idiots.

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