re: How should we punish BP?
Reminds me that the only thing an enterprise fears is competition. They can and will coopt most everything else that presents itself as an obstacle to their success (governments, and yes, customers <grin>).
A better fix for “the BP foolishness” is to lease every oil field to at least two, hopefully more, companies, with each entitled to empty-it-all by a date certain. Call each field a race to the finish. Note that our 40 year streak of clean drilling was ended NOT because BP was moving aggressively to produce from the well, but because they were going to cap it. Why cap? We don’t know (likely refining capacity limited by regulation and collusion with industry) – perhaps with an interest in sustaining prices (or even waiting for a higher price) – hmmm. We’ve had blow-out profits by energy companies recently. And lots of taxes and fees paid (which coopts governments as well.. another good reason not to tax or regulate an enterprise beyond rules that apply to everyone equally).
Imagine AAPL sitting on their iPhone production. Hard to call the current system free enterprise regulated by (only) competition, or even imagine what energy would cost if we liberated those citizens and their enterprise.