Worst Case Scenario

How 'bout this one...BP declares bankruptcy, its debt (and the cost of cleanup in the Gulf is one of those, to be sure) gets shifted to taxpayers, while the failed company is purchased out of receivership by Chevron or Shell or [fill in oil company], which retains the rights to all BP's old drill sites, leases and other assets, but no liability for the gusher. See? That was easy.

And just so you understand such a scenario isn't out of the question, consider the fact that BP is considering paying shareholders a $10.5-billion "annual" dividend right now. I mean WTF?!? I thought dividends were a reward paid out to investors who back responsible, profitable companies. My bad. Apparently they're just paid out no matter what.

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