Apr 11

Oil Speculation

I have written on the subject of oil speculation before, here, and here. Kendaleth C. VanLue, a guest blogger over at Think Progress published a piece today in which he lays out each of the recent indicators that oil speculation on Wall Street in indeed driving up the price of oil, affecting gasoline prices and heating oil dramatically.  Shippers, parcel delivery companies, and airlines among other trade groups have repeatedly called on the administration to crack down on the practice, or at the very least open investigations. Experts have offered testimony to Senate and House leadership. However, other than veiled threats in recent stump speeches from President Obama, there has been no action from the Department of Justice or the CFTC.

The article lays out a sample of recent indicators of rampant oil speculation:

Think Progress has links to the data to back up each of the indicators.

Apr 06

Avoiding the Cause of Oil Spike

The fight over oil prices among the top two presidential candidates is afoot. The Obama campaign has just released a new campaign add in which he touts his administration’s accomplishments in increasing domestic oil supply and raised fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. Romney has been fighting back, claiming that Obama and his henchman, including the Secretary of Energy, have colluded with tree huggers and failed alternative energy manufacturers like Solyndra to purposefully drive up the price of oil.

This spectacle would be politically entertaining if it were not for one glaring omission: derivative futures speculators on Wall Street account for a plurality of the recent spike in the price of oil. This didn’t come from some left wing progressive algae farmer, it came from the fucking Federal Reserve. If Obama were to even intimate that CFTC and DOJ investigations of illegal futures trading were coming down the pike, the price of oil would decline quickly as speculators take profits in hopes of avoiding regulatory action. Romney has also failed to go after Wall Street on this matter. One can be left only to conclude that neither party has an interest in having the backs of hard working Americans as they struggle to purchase gasoline and heating oil and find enough left over for food and other necessities.