Skip to main content

Where are the anti-tax activists when you need them?

They should be protesting outside of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, denouncing the agency for failing to take action. And they should be applauding a new legislative proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Where are the anti-tax activists when you need them?

They should be protesting outside of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, denouncing the agency for failing to take action. And they should be applauding a new legislative proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Right now, Wall Street speculators are imposing an enormous tax on consumers, and the overall economy.

Where are the anti-tax activists?

There's no question that illegal, collusive activity is far too frequent in energy markets. But the much bigger problem is legal speculation.

Wall Street speculation in oil and energy markets is jacking up the price of oil, and thereby siphoning money from the pockets and pocketbooks of consumers.

Even Goldman Sachs suggests that legal speculation may be adding 65-70 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson says supply-and-demand fundamentals suggest the price of oil should be $65-$70 a barrel, about a third less than the current price. Experts from the home heating oil industry believe even the $65 figure is too high.

The speculation component of the price of gasoline is exactly like a tax on consumers.

Except that it is the worst kind of tax imaginable.

A government imposed-tax on oil or carbon would go to the U.S. Treasury, for use to advance public purposes, such as investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. By contrast, the proceeds of this Wall Street-imposed tax are going to Wall Street interests, giant oil companies and foreign oil interests. Wall Street gamblers are benefiting from the higher prices in oil markets. The higher prices of oil - which have nothing to do with the cost of drilling or refining - are driving Big Oil's profits to the stratosphere. The formula for success for Exxon, Chevron, BP and the rest is simple: keep costs constant and reap the profits from prices driven higher by oil speculators. Foreign oil interests get the same benefits - at the expense of worsening the U.S. trade deficit.

The Wall Street-imposed tax is regressive, with working families hit the hardest.

And the unpredictability and impermanence of this Wall Street-imposed tax means that - while it imposes costs on consumers and the economy -- it does not do much to shift consumer and business decisions. There is a strong case to be made for putting a price on carbon, to encourage consumer and business investments in efficiency and renewable energy technologies. But the Wall Street-imposed tax does little to achieve these objectives. The tax is temporary -- at some point, speculators will race out of the market, driving prices back down -- so it does not send a clear price signal to consumers and businesses to redirect investments to efficiency and renewables.

We, the People are not helpless in the face of this legalized rip-off. We can crack down on out-of-control legal speculation.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act -- the Dodd-Frank Act -- directed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to enact "position limits" to eliminate excessive speculation in energy markets. Such a rule would limit the amount of oil that Wall Street speculators could trade in the energy futures market, taking control over the oil futures market away from speculators and returning it to those who actually use and supply oil. But under pressure from Wall Street and its allies, the CFTC has failed to act by the mid-January deadline it was given.

To force immediate action, Sen. Bernie Sanders -- along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Jeff Merkley, Al Franken, Sheldon Whitehouse and Bill Nelson - earlier this week introduced the End Excessive Oil Speculation Now Act. It would mandate immediate action by the CFTC to end the Wall Street-imposed oil tax. The legislation would end Wall Street's authority to rip off consumers via a privately imposed tax.

Ending the Wall Street-imposed tax would save Americans tens of billions of dollars. But for political opposition from obvious sources, this legislation would win immediate passage.

Where are the anti-tax activists?

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site