Privatize The Gains, Socialize The Losses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the richest governor in America, has been working to make his family business even richer, and the rest of us poorer, according to The Tennesseean:

After taking office, Gov. Bill Haslam reconstituted an obscure board that enforces environmental rules for the industry that helped make him the richest elected official in America.

Since then, the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board has taken steps to shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers.

The 14-member board, 12 of whom are appointed by the governor, sets rules for the $50 million environmental fund overseen by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, or TDEC. The fund has been paying to clean up spills since 1990. It is financed by a combination of a gas tax paid by consumers at the pump and an annual fee paid by owners of petroleum tanks.

Since the board has been reconfigured, members representing consumers have been eliminated.

The board, which retained its four petroleum industry members, has voted in favor of a resolution to increase the state dollars available to private companies for environmental spills caused by failures or accidents from $1 million to $2 million. That became law in 2015.

This year, a new law gives the board the power to give all gas stations and truck stops a big break — suspending their annual fees to the cleanup fund entirely. Some board members have signaled their support for eliminating those fees this year — despite hearing from the man in charge of the state’s underground storage tank program that a “historically high burden of this funding has shifted onto the public.”

Suspending the industry’s financial contributions would leave taxpayers, who haven’t gotten the same breaks as gas stations and truck stops, bearing full financial responsibility for toxic spills.

Surpriiiise, surpriiise!

This isn’t the first time Gov. Haslam has used his position to enrich his crooked family business. But … blind trusts, yada yada.

And I know my conservative friends are going to say, “But wait, Beale, those costs get handed down to consumers anyway,” after all, isn’t that what they always say? Isn’t that the whole point of “deregulation” and the glorious, unfettered free hand of the market and all that crap? The thing is, the costs don’t get passed down to consumers on a dollar for dollar basis, there is only so much of this “passing on to consumers” that the market can bear.

And this is the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats believe in making industry pay for the damage they cause. If you pollute, you pay. If you make a mess, you clean it up. If your underground storage tanks are leaking, you fix it, and you fix the mess you made. It’s like kindergarten, people. Easy-peasy.

Republicans think that’s so unfair, you guys! Republicans believe that their rich friends should be allowed to do whatever they want, and let the chips fall where they may. Because they think that when they prosper, everyone prospers. It “trickles down,” don’tcha know. They still believe that nonsense!

Meanwhile, the only thing trickling down is polluted ground water and contaminated soil. But what do they care? They live in their gated communities with the private water source and they jet off to Aspen and Europe and all that, where they don’t have to live with the mess they create. They aren’t really affected, are they? It’s not their groundwater, is it? It’s yours! If you want it to be clean, you pay for it! That’s what they believe.

They are truly horrible people.


Filed under Housekeeping

15 responses to “Privatize The Gains, Socialize The Losses

  1. AWESOME TRUTHS laid on all of us who CARE. This is the same theory they use to privatize our prisons, and now his dastardly scheme to destroy THOUSANDS of good, mostly union jobs at our public colleges and our University of Tennessee system. Thank God his team of twisted priorities has NOT, nor WILL they, come up with a ‘plan’ that will show that this will “save Tennessee millions”. And our prisons are dangerous for both prisoners AND staff who are left. He fired many guards, so the ones left are working longer hours with less chance of overtime…The Feds just announced that the DOJ will no longer allow PRIVATE, for-profit companies to run its prisons…I wish I could spread your article everywhere !

  2. “But wait, Beale, those costs get handed down to consumers anyway,”

    Which might be honest if leaky fuel tanks were something that just happened, but fundamentally wrong given that there’s something we can do about them. Yes, the costs do get passed on to consumers either way, but they get passed down differently. When polluters pay, businesses that come up with innovative ways of not polluting save money relative to ones that continue to pollute. That lets them charge their customers less, and there’s less pollution overall on net. You’d think that people who claim to favor free markets would get that.

  3. Democommie

    Our “alternative energy” nuke plants (2 plants, 3 reactors)just threatened to shut down one reactor and possibly another–fucling corporate welfare crybabies–got the state to pony up for $1B in “”Green energy” credits.

  4. Democommie

    Whither our resident libereptilican troll?

    • Jim in Memphis

      I assume you are looking for me DC. Sorry to keep you waiting on my sage thoughts. I imagine you have been worried about my good health and well being since I haven’t blessed you with any posts in a while. I know your day begins with thoughts of me and you struggle to get to sleep wondering why I haven’t said anything to you lately. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this. I happen to agree with SB on this. Companies that cause damages should pay for those damages.

      On an unrelated note on the status of the Democratic party in TN, it seems that TN is the place the Democratic party is actually dying –
      Such fun things going on here in Memphis and Shelby County.

      • Actually, reading that story, it seems clear that state Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini and Shelby County Democrats are cleaning house. Which isn’t a sign of the party’s death but it’s strength. If the county party can’t function because of these issues it needs to disband and be reorganized. That’s a good move and shows solid leadership.

        That TN GOPers are trying to exploit this for thier own gain when they’ve got their own issues is pretty funny. I’m sure these threats to launch an investigation into the Bryan Carson issue is just retaliation for TN Dems’ calls for an investigation into Jeremy “Pants Candy” Durham’s sexual harassment issues.

      • Democommie


        Wrong, again; on several counts, your health and other issues are of little or no interest to me, whether you are thriving or failing.

        I do note your concern about the TN dems, despite the story’s dateline.

        Disbanding the county party to unseat a-holes is a good idea. Unlike that idea, the Republicans are doubling down on the core of the sun burnin’ stoopit that is the Trump candudduncy.

      • Jim in Memphis

        The Dems in Shelby county want to press charges against Carson for stealing money. However, he is well connected at the state party level so Mancini forced the Shelby county Dems to accept a measly payback scheme that didn’t even cover all of the money he stole. Mancini is the one protecting the corrupt Democrat in this case and the Dems that are being “cleared out” in Shelby county are not the ones that need to be removed from the party.

      • Well, you may know more about it than I do but I don’t see how disbanding the party protects anyone. Yes, Mancini cut a deal where Carson pays back $6,000. There’s so much inside politics going on here that involves people who have been on the executive committee for decades and are threatened by anything new. These barnacles are fighting with newcomers, local Dems have been supporting REPUBLICANS in county elections, there’s inside sniping and lost county elections. It’s clear the party isn’t serving its function. Seems like the Shelby County Dems have been a mess for years and Carson’s alleged embezzlement is just a sideshow to deeper, systemic problems. Again, I don’t know the players, the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” Seems from what I’ve read that there’s just a lot of sniping and bitching and backbiting. Didn’t Joe Brown accuse his Republican rival of being a lesbian or something? That’s just tacky and offensive. Clean house, start over.

      • Jim in Memphis

        You don’t see how removing the people trying to press criminal charges against Carson for embezzlement is protecting him? Are he and his mother still members of the Executive Committee? You don’t think someone that embezzled money from the County Democratic party should be removed from the executive committee instead of having a vote to disband the people that are trying to press criminal charges against him?

      • But isn’t this really about Del Gill getting his knickers in a twist with Michael Pope and Mary Mancini? Gill is the one who filed charges against Carson. Gill is the one who lost the county party chair race to Pope. As far as I know, those allegations haven’t been corroborated. Carson denies them, has been saying that his record keeping was bad. Internal audits have showed different amounts of money in question. The lower amount was agreed to in the settlement with his lawyers. This really just sounds like an internal battle between different factions of old-guard and new-guard county party players, and the county party and the state party. Very inside baseball and dysfunctional. I remember a Commercial Appeal article with state Rep. Johnnie Turner where he said they should just “burn it all down” or something of that nature. And that’s what she’s doing. And good for her, you get these old guard assholes who think they can push a woman around and it’s like, no. You’re not in charge.

  5. paradoxresearch

    There is a fundamental assumption playing out in the republican/conservative mind, and a slightly different one in the democratic one.
    For the conservatives, I’d suggest that the original American documents of incorporation decrees:

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and

    The freedom to bear arms shall not be infringed.

    These two messages seem to underscore the conservative psyche, and get re-interpreted as ‘grab and defend.’

    The democratic mind similarly assumes this, but also attempts to balance this with the fundamental concept the all off civilization is a co-operative venture. Rephrased, we have no innate ‘fundamental’ rights except the right to die, and that anything over and above this exists only because we have agreed to it.

    It is in this way that democrats are a bit closer to the balance point by trying to make the priorities of the individual, equal to the necessities of society. Too bad the American docs that define you don’t say that.

    Please don’t believe a word of what I say. Go reflect and investigate for yourselves. Fifty years of watching America tends to lead to my statements.

    • paradoxresearch

      typo: ” the fundamental concept the all off civilization is a co-operative venture.” should read “the fundamental concept that all of civilization is a co-operative venture.”

      This maybe somewhat moot, given that I’m suggesting reworking the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc., a project about as digestible as concrete.