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Biden Visits Louisiana, Refuses to Answer Questions, Leaves Behind Giant Rocks

Posted on July 1 2010 4:00 pm
Norbert Michel is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. Michel has a PhD in Financial Economics from the University of New Orleans, and he teaches statistics, economics, and finance courses. Visit Michel's blog at
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No matter how badly the oil spill devastates their economy, the people of south Louisiana can rest assured they will have something to put in their Christmas stockings this year – rocks.  As Vice President Joe Biden (who’s opposed to drilling in Alaska) took his obligatory visit to south LA, he assured everyone the federal government was “committed” to us.  Someone definitely needs to be committed.

When Katrina devastated the area, the Left pounced on George W. Bush for his supposed inaction.  It didn’t matter that the only way to immediately fix the problem was to basically drop an entirely new city into place.  Hollywood even got in on the act, with Spike Lee (who believes that racism is woven into the very fabric of America) making a propaganda film about the disaster, and Kanye West famously proclaiming that George Bush hates black people.

But now their guy’s administration completely bungles the spill cleanup, and the Left focuses their rage on BP.  Oh, and George W. Bush because he left the Minerals Management Service in disarray.  It’s amazing how the only problems with the government are those caused by Bush.

Well, the Left may still be fascinated with the Utopian farce that the government can (and should) do everything for us, but many people along the Gulf coast are under no such illusion.  Folks were still weary after Katrina, but the frustration with the spill cleanup is much more focused.

Even more people have figured out that a massive bureaucracy doesn’t do anything well, much less quickly.  The latest example is frustration over getting permission to build protective rock barriers.  As Biden flew away, unable to give any specific assurances (and without taking any questions), giant barges full of rocks remained dockside.

BP has already paid for the rocks, but local officials have been waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to approve building the barricades.  Maybe it’s good to be prudent, but anyone who has ever been fishing in south LA knows that there are rock jetty’s everywhere.

One of the best examples I can give is the (now closed) Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a Corps-built channel lined with rocks.  Long ago, the people of St. Bernard parish warned that a major hurricane would push water through the MRGO into their community.  Turns out they were right, even though the Corps reviewed the project to death.

Now, local officials simply want to use rock barriers to direct oil into certain areas so that it will be easier to collect.  But the Corps is concerned about “where water gets displaced, how currents are affected, and erosion.”  How about oil?

It’s time to call Obama/Biden’s bluff.  Fire up the tugboats, push the barges into place, and build the rock piles.  If we have to, we can pick them all up later.  Otherwise, we should get the Corps to approve a “break the rocks for Christmas socks” plan.  If we ask now, we might get approval by Christmas.

If you’d like to read more economic-related topics (and who doesn’t love economics?) by Norbert Michel, please visit his blog.

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