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5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: April 19

Stocks in this article: CXW HLF CCL

2. Carnival Bruises

Hey Micky Arison, you are so fine for finally repaying the government the costs of towing Carnival's (CCL) less-than-luxury cruise liners back to shore. You are so fine, in fact, that you blow our mind.

Hey Micky. (Clap Clap) Hey Micky. (Clap Clap)

(Sorry Dumbest fans. We couldn't help ourselves.)

Anyway, the world's largest cruise line company announced Monday it will indeed pony up an unspecified amount to taxpayers for the Coast Guard and Navy's services in saving its Triumph and Splendor cruise ships, both of which stranded thousands of passengers at sea for days. Carnival said the payments were being made voluntarily to the U.S. Treasury and that no government agency had requested remuneration for either embarrassing incident.

Fine. We'll grant them that if it makes them feel better. But we all know the real reason for their sudden reversal is that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va) was publicly attacking Carnival and its CEO Arison for trying to avoid the bill.

Ain't it amazing how quickly a company will reach for its wallet once the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee accuses it of "bloodsucking off the American people" and threatens an investigation?

Rockefeller estimated the Coast Guard's costs in dealing with the Triumph's failure this past February at nearly $780,000. He pegged the 2010 engine fire that left the Splendor adrift off the coast of Mexico at $3.4 million because the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan had to pitch in with the rescue.

"I'm glad to see that Carnival owned up to the bare minimum of corporate responsibility by reimbursing federal taxpayers for these two incidents," Rockfeller said in a statement Monday. "I am still committed to making sure the cruise industry as a whole pays its fair share in taxes, complies with strict safety standards, and holds the safety of its passengers above profits."

Right on Rockefeller! We applaud your moxie even though we doubt you'll bring a lot of those tax dollars back home. The cruise industry cleverly stashes its treasure across too many foreign ports to count. All the pirates in the Caribbean couldn't locate that booty, let alone one solemn Senator.

That said, it really would be a trip to see Micky Arison testify in front of Congress on the subject. Never before have we seen a CEO remain so far behind the scenes while his company's troubles are so far out in the open.

Here's an idea. Maybe the Navy can send in some SEALs to locate Arison. Now that Rockefeller has found Micky's wallet, Uncle Sam can tack the search and rescue costs onto Carnival's bill.

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