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Plug the Hole: Firing Line

Top kill, trash, mud and even golf balls have failed to stem the flow. Today, the saw cutting the pipe got stuck. We can put a man on the moon but we can't plug a hole in the earth.

It would be comical if it weren't so sad.

The disaster in the Gulf only seems to worsen as the days go by and there's no end in sight. Relief wells will not be up to speed for months and current efforts seem futile at best. Top kill, trash, mud and even golf balls have failed to stem the flow. Today, the saw cutting the pipe got stuck. We can put a man on the moon but we can't plug a hole in the earth.

Frustrating. But even more frustrating is the "I told you so moment" some of us are experiencing. Bottom line up front folks: The government can't do everything. Nor should they.

President Bush has been lambasted in the media over the years for his response after hurricane Katrina. The city of New Orleans -- which by the way is currently underwater, has been since the earth cooled, and is sinking at a rate of one inch per year -- was the victim of what some may say an "act of God." I prefer to say an act of nature. Or, as some believe, the ensuing destruction was a CIA conspiracy. Yes, there are those who believe the dykes were blown up by the federal government.

We knew there was a strong possibility that a significant storm would eventually hit New Orleans, just as sure as a major earthquake will hit California. Not a matter of if, but when. But even with these events being near certain, I am certain that the contingency planning for such events is poor at best, non-existent at worst. Some say the reason Bush was slow out of the gate to respond to the hurricane was because conservatives believe in limited government. One only had to look at the hundreds of empty school buses sitting idle before the hurricane hit (yes...the people, local and state governments were warned in case you forgot), and then sitting there covered with water to wonder what an activist government would've done.

So with the city and state governments in absolute disarray, the feds came riding in...and were of course blamed for being late. Our bad for thinking that people would act in the best interests of their families and themselves...silly us. And our bad for thinking that two governments who tax the people to protect the people would be able to provide for the people.

Now let's shift our focus to the current disaster in the Gulf, which by the way, is manmade. Unless we believe some people...that CIA is really busy apparently.

The same people who lambasted Bush are slowly turning their rage to President Obama. Extremely slowly of course. Imagine the speed of lambasting if it were Bush.

But it's time for me to support the president...pick up your jaw and please continue.

The government response to the current disaster has to be crushing for the president, as when Luke found out the truth on that antenna at Cloud City. Government can't do everything. Nor should it.

Let me count the ways: The

BP

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disaster still would've occurred, even with more government regulation. The knee jerk reaction from Washington has been predictable: stop drilling and add on more regulation. I'd venture to say that it this tragedy would've occurred even with Mine and Minerals Service personnel on the rig that fateful day, since their leadership prefers to spend a lot of time online looking at porn and not doing their jobs. But I digress.

What arm of the federal government is responsible for plugging a hole a mile below the surface of the ocean? Apparently the same one that is supposed to know that people won't listen to warnings and that two forms of government will fail.

The frustration of the president can be summed up with his reported frustration last week when an aide quoted him as saying, "Just plug the @#%$* hole!" If only someone else had thought of that...

Exploring for oil is dangerous. It is hazardous. Horrible accidents can and will happen and we need to conduct a full debrief of this disaster in order to prevent it from occurring again. But the main lesson to learn from this event is that government can't do everything. It's that simple. The longer we continue to foster the mentality that we must cast our eyes to Washington to save us, the more people will become dependent on the federal government. Wait a minute...I think I'm on to something here.

President Obama threatened to put his "government boot" on the neck of BP. That's about the only thing our government can apparently do well: threaten public companies. Anyone remember the president firing the CEO of GM?

BP is being punished as billions of dollars in market cap disappear. They'll be lucky to survive the disaster.

Transocean

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is also getting pummeled. These are companies with employees and shareholders.

Firing Line: Ronald Regan famously said, "In this current crisis, government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem." While the feds are the only ones with the force of the U.S. military at their disposal, they're also the ones jumping in and out of the current response, alternating between saying they're in charge and BP is in charge. Someone take charge, say they're in charge, mean it, and make it happen.

Matthew "Whiz" Buckley is the chief strategy officer of

Options University

, a provider of options education for options traders of all levels. . He is also the founder of Strike Fighter Financial, a business-consulting firm specializing in leadership development, risk management and strategic planning for Fortune 500 companies and related organizations. Buckley flew the F-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy. He's a graduate of TOPGUN, has close to 400 carrier landings and flew 44 combat sorties over Iraq. After leaving active duty, he worked as managing director of strategy at a Wall Street firm and CEO of a financial media company. He is an internationally recognized speaker and combined his experiences in the military and corporate America in his book "From Sea Level to C Level."