The President indicated tonight that he was going to "meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness."
This is laughable on its face, and it's amazing that anyone in the White House speechwriting opearation would write - or allow through the editing process - such a ridiculous line. Of course, he has no such authority to do this. He can ask BP to contribute to a fund - and they might agree for PR reasons - but he can't tell BP's chairman what he has to do any more than he could come to your house and tell you to paint it a different color.
U.S. law limits the liability of BP - or any petroloeum company - to $75 million for a drilling accident. If the president thinks that's too low, he can ask Congress to change the number for future accidents. The fact that he thinks he can simply commandeer the assets of a private company is testimony to both his ignorance and arrogance.