Do Not Let The Republicans Frame the Gasoline Debate

English: Saipem 7000 in April 2006,in the Åmøy...

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For the life of me, I cannot understand how the people of the United States continues to let a chosen few run roughshod over our political discussions, much less how much we pay for gasoline.

The “outrage of the week” for me has been the slow crawl of gasoline prices and how a few blockheads can go on television, and have half of the country thinking that drilling, building Canadian pipelines, or some other bogus claim is the actual reason.

How can Americans be so abjectly stupid? A year ago, ExxonMobil’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, told Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that the oil would be about $60-70/barrel if the speculators in oil futures were not driving up the price.

Well, if that’s not from the horse’s mouth, I’d like to know what is.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has repeatedly pointed out that oil speculators, and their ability and propensity to drive up the oil has many times the weight of driving up prices than would anything this or any other president can do.

Wall Street, again, and the lack of regulation thereof, is wreaking havoc with consumers and 99% of the U.S. suffers for it.

One should also note that these higher prices, caused by speculators, play right into the hands of Russian “President” Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and myriad others who wish to harm the United States. Why else would Iran keep announcing its nuclear progress to the world, or threaten the Straight of Hormuz?

I’ll tell you why. Because every time it does, speculators drive the prices higher, even in the face of higher supplies, lower consumptions and weaker demand.

And Republicans would have it no other way, despite, no, because of the hardships that higher prices cause. Every time one of those signs outside fuel stations clicks up a few pennies, every single driver that sees them grows a little more fitful, and a little more willing to believe that U.S. energy policy can do something about their pain.

Secretary Reich reminds us that, historically, 30 percent of oil futures’ trades were conducted by speculators. Today, that number is 64 percent, and it is a relatively small group of traders.

To stop Wall Street from playing “beat the house” with our hard-earned money, we should enact at  least a $10.00 transaction tax on speculator transactions. Note, this is not a tax on oil itself or even on oil companies who would simply pass along the increased cost to consumers. It is a tax on speculative profits made on Wall Street trading desks.

As a broader plan to bring down our national debt, and widen the base of federal taxpayers to include every single person enjoying the freedoms and benefits that our tax dollars supply, a similar 1ȼ tax should be imposed on every financial transaction completed for goods or services by anyone on U.S. soil, (http://hg.scimth.net/2012/01/07/europe-america-one-penny-solution/). Participants like oil companies themselves, airlines, trucking companies, etc., who have a legitimate interest in hedging the prices they receive or pay for oil should be exempt. But, the speculators should be taxed.

The tax would marginally reduce the net returns, but not the risk, of oil speculation and thus would lead to a reduction of the speculation-driven high prices for oil, and gasoline. Instead of the money going into the speculators’ coffers, families could use it to buy needed goods and services and spur economic growth.

To make the tax even more politically achievable, all the revenues should be dedicated to debt reduction.

The President and Democratic Congressional leaders could propose this… now. This is a winning issue. Not only for the American people, but for the economy, and for the President and Democrats. The fight itself exposes the real causes of the high and rising gas prices, and will put into stark relief the differences between those who are fighting to get prices down and those who attack the prices but not the real culprits. I would end the misinformation and deflection of the issue onto the President, who has no more control over the price at the pump than you or I.

Let Republicans, if they dare, side with the oil speculators… and serve Putin’s and Iran’s interests at the same time. They have declared war on women’s rights, the suffering middle class, and the entire Hispanic population in the U.S.

Don’t let them pull a Houdini with gasoline prices by shifting the blame onto the President.

Do it LOUD. Do it NOW!

Harvey Gold

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  5 comments for “Do Not Let The Republicans Frame the Gasoline Debate

  1. Harvey Gold
    March 24, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Jack-As usual your argument fails. Your wallet may matter to you, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the price of gas, which you would no if you understood even a sliver of how a global economy works.Additionally, only those who think that Bush could’ve done something about the high cost of gas would think that O’bama can. Neither is true. There is no fault here, and your previous argument was based on a false assumption that more domestic production would somehow have such an effect. It never has, and never will. I refuse to try and explain such rudimentary facts to anyone who does not understand that there is currently no shortage of oil or refined petro products nor does supply and demand have anything to do with the price Americans pay at the pump.

    If it warms your heart to entertain childishly simplistic views of global economies, then by all means hold your blankey close and suck on your thumb while watching the propaganda machine on Fox Noise tells you what to believe, since it’s painfully clear that you have no frame of reference of your own, through informed, independent sources, to backup your stance.

    Display your intellectual and factual inadequacies, share them with your like-minded sheeple, scream them from the rooftops, I simply do not care.

    It’s a shame that you are not capable of forming cogent, fact-based reasons for your errant and antiquated misconceptions regarding economic topics, but it is not my job to unravel the noise in your head that blocks the path to your ability to correctly discern fantasy from reality.

  2. jackarm
    March 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Harvey – nice try but my checkbook does count! This administration is trying to work two sides of the fence at once – and it is not working well.

    Chu did his job. Why not back him? He wants higher gas prices to force us to use less and to embrace alternative energy. I understand that. I do not agree with it but I understand it.

    Alternative energy will come when it is ready. No wine before it’s time so to speak. Trying to make the US public embrace more costly energy sources will also have a problem.

    Some alternative is out there – find it – then you will not need subsidies – it will blow oil away.

    The problem with this administration is they want it both ways. First it was Bush’s fault gas was high. Now the President really cannot control it. Then – we need higher gas prices – oops – people don’t like that. change the story.

    Get some cajones and stand behind what you really want!

  3. Harvey Gold
    March 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Jack, Jack, Jack. More drilling, fracking or gnashing of one’s teeth will simply not change the facts. You are certainly quick to use blather of your own, but never, ever back it up with any meaningful data.

    This is because you have none.

    There is simply not enough domestic oil to matter, nor does the law of supply and demand when speculators can tie up all of the contracts with a pittance of what the actual cost of the contact is.

    I realize that these notions of an economy beyond the complexity of your personal checkbook may be something you simply cannot grok, but perhaps if you read the article, look at the sourced links and make an informed, rather than emotional response, your argument would sound more knowledgeable and less hysterical.

    Perhaps taking your eyes off of the pump and focusing on more than Fox talking points would lend a measure of comfort to you.

  4. jackarm
    March 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Well (not an oil well) – the Republicans are not framing the gasoline debate. The pump is.

    These statements that our internal oil production does not affect price – does not pass Econ 101.

    What do you think makes speculators drive the price up and down??? The phase of the moon? It is the expected future relation between production and use. The more the world is expected to produces – the lower the price. The less we are expected to use – the lower the price. The reverse is just as true.

    If you think the US oil production does not matter. How about shutting down all our production???? Watch what happens to oil prices then. probably double or more.

    The current – what we do – is pure rationalization to protect the Obama Administration. Chu and possibly Obama have had a goal to raise oil prices and they have succeeded. Now they do not like the results and are trying to talk their way out of the results. Frankly, I find it sickening – just once – please – own up to what you have done.

    This blather about the speculators is true but the blather never looks behind why the speculators bid the price up and down.

    George Bush (yes the hated George Bush) had oil at $140 a barrell and about $4.25 a gallon average. He released drilling on all requested permits. In ONE YEAR – we were under $2.00 a gallon.

    If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices – look at the pump when you try to fill up.

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