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With average gasoline prices at $3.90 nationwide and higher in various regions, the Obama administration will announce this morning new measures to boost federal oversight of oil markets, tougher penalties on market manipulation and requirements for empower energy traders to put more money behind to back their commodity transactions.

Just a few days ago, Michael Greenberger told a congressional committee that financial speculators were gambling on oil the way they did on housing a few years ago. When that bubble burst, we wound up with a Little Depression.

"It is similar to the gambling Wall Street did on whether or not people would pay their subprime (below-market rate) mortgages in the mortgage meltdown," said Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former federal regulator of financial markets. "Now they are betting on the upward direction of the price of oil."

Although oil prices, which make up about two-thirds of the price of gasoline, are set by dynamic forces in global markets, financial speculation can have a short-term impact. Just six months before an election, that impact can be problematic. And higher prices, even in the short term, could choke off what has so far been a fragile economic recovery, most of whose benefits already are skewed to the top tier of the population.

The White House plan includes:

1. Requesting Immediate Funding to Put More “Cops on the Beat” Overseeing Oil Markets: The President is calling on Congress to pass an immediate increase in funding to support at least a six-fold increase in the surveillance and enforcement staff for oil futures market trading at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

 2. Funding Critical Technology Upgrades in the Oversight and Surveillance of Energy Market Activity: The President is also requesting that Congress provide the CFTC funding for critical IT upgrades to strengthen monitoring of energy market activity.

 3. Substantially Increasing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Manipulation in Key Energy Markets: The President’s proposal includes a ten-fold increase in maximum civil and criminal penalties for manipulative activity in oil futures markets. These heightened penalties will make sure that penalties reflect the seriousness of misconduct.

 4. Empowering the CFTC to Raise Margin Requirements in Oil Futures Markets: The President is also calling on Congress to act immediately to give the CFTC authority to direct exchanges to raise margin requirements to address increased price volatility or prevent excessive speculation or manipulation. This authority will help limit disruptions and reduce volatility in oil markets.

 5. Taking Immediate Steps to Expand Access to CFTC Data to Better Understand Trading Trends in Oil Markets: These executive actions will allow additional analysis of CFTC’s data to look for patterns and better understand trading activity in energy markets.

Greenberger told members of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee that
even the threat of a Justice Department investigation might be enough to intimidate speculators. "If there is a real investigation, just the appearance of it will cause these cockroaches to scatter," he said, "because the light will be turned on."

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Common Sense, Worthwhile, Popular (31+ / 0-)

    Which means it of course won't have a hope in hell of passing a GOP filibuster.

    Follow Me on Twitter!!/TarantinoDork

    by TarantinoDork on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:45:15 AM PDT

    •  It is long over due... (16+ / 0-)

      And you're right about the filibuster... but having the Dems draft the legislation and submit it will help in framing the debate for the election.

      The repugs have chosen gas prices as an attack point against Obama and the Dems so this is a counter to that since much has been written about the speculators role in those prices.

      It may only give Obama a talking point in the debates to counter Romney... but it would be a good one to have at the ready.

      What ever he can do through the new watch dog groups and the DoJ need to be done though to add validity to his moves.

    •  Exactly what I'm thinking. (0+ / 0-)

      I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

      by David54 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:49:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wish they ran the government like they campaign (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's a brilliant move to propose these regulations and penalties as the GOP shouts about gas prices going up and try to blame it on Obama. This is smart politics; popular, direct, affirmative of a modestly progressive policy agenda.

      If Obama had been making these kind of political moves all along, instead of futilely wasting all the time on bipartisan compromising, he might have a real track record of being progressive.

      So everyone wonders if after he wins re-election--and with sharp moves like this he will win--if Obama will really attempt true progressive politicking without futile kinds of compromise.


      •  Obama is not a True Progressive (0+ / 0-)

        But he is left of center, and I believe he is giving up on being the great "mediator-in-chief." Obama's dreams of bipartisanship and compromise should have been obviously naive (and were to many of us outside the beltway/Village,) but I can understand the desire for them.

        I actually feel a bit sorry for the President as I feel he has finally accepted defeat or given up on one of his very core beliefs. I just hope Obama follows through the pattern people usually go through when this happens; the righteous anger that follows the realization that reality does not just not conform to your ideals, but will not, that it actively fights against it, often violently, can be a powerful thing.

        1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.

        by xenothaulus on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:50:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  obama campaigned (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          On bringing people together.

          He always did that starting as a community organizer.

          Bringing people together was a key part of leadership according to obama.

          He knew republicans were unreasonable. He was not naive. He just felt he still had to bring them into discussions. It was a key part of his campaign.

        •  Financial Industry Meltdown (0+ / 0-)

          It's difficult to see Obama as left of center when he put Geithner and Summers at the helm of his economic policy during the biggest financial crisis since 1929. Geithner behaved as an industry protector and apologist; Summers pushed Obama to sign onto the austerity-based nonsense while 80 years of successful Keynesian intervention in capitalist economies spoke loudly against it.

          So I'm less willing to see Obama as clearly left of center. He's starting to move there, though.

    •  Just a waste of time (0+ / 0-)

      So is congress period

  •  McTurtle says this is just another stunt....Wonder (14+ / 0-)

    when his caucus will look after their OWN hides and not keep running interference for him.

  •  In other Words He's Doing Nothing (12+ / 0-)

    If Obama thinks a Republican Congress is going to pass any legislation to allow the CFTC to operate efficiently he is deluded.

    He should have them go after derivatives traders now no matter how many investigators they have.  Pick on the Koch’s trading and nail them to the wall for manipulation.  Make an example of someone at least.

    Frankly I'm sick of Obama saying and not doing.

  •  a short-term necessity to blunt gas price rise PR (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, tb mare
    Although oil prices, which make up about two-thirds of the price of gasoline, are set by dynamic forces in global markets, financial speculation can have a short-term impact. Just six months before an election, that impact can be problematic. And higher prices, even in the short term, could choke off what has so far been a fragile economic recovery, most of whose benefits already are skewed to the top tier of the population

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:49:35 AM PDT

  •  In order for Margin limits to be fully effective (14+ / 0-)

    they have to apply to all the major; read G8: and minor read G20 nation markets. Otherwise traders will simple bypass CME and NYMEX and trade in London, Tokyo etc

    This it would seem would require G8 and eventually G20 treaties.

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:55:22 AM PDT

  •  Memo to Obama (15+ / 0-)

    Run against Wall Street and go FDR in your second term.

    The big money that helped you get elected to your first term has shifted to Romney.

    McCain/Palin scared them
    and Romney is them.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:58:09 AM PDT

  •  The bizarro world 'free markets' and floating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    tankers at sea.

  •  we need to conserve oil (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spiffarino, ladyjames

    and if we taxed it appropriately to decrease demand and used the money for things the real people in this country need, it wouldn't be quite as bad though still a regressive tax.

    What we need to do is eliminate even pennies a gallon, though it seems like it is more dime per gallon, of speculation because rich people's money has no place to go for respectable levels of return but speculation.

    Fix the tax code, reintroduce fairness, use it as an appropriate tool of an industrial policy that provides living wage jobs and growth in the real economy.

    But get speculation out of commodities.  It is organized theft against the people.

  •  If Obama actually wants something done (6+ / 0-)

    before the election, this won't hack it.  Use the Justice Dept.

    •  Completely agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun, TJ

      Hang a few high profile snakeoil salesmen, and the rest will become Christians real quick.

      As MB points out though, there are so many moving parts to the global oil market that legislating in a vacuum in the U.S. (like that would ever happen anyway) won't make much of a substantial difference, at least in the short term.

      Releasing a flood from the SPR, though?  Or even threatening to do so (which is within Obama's authority)?  That would be helpful in the short term.  Current oil / gas prices are going to drag the economy right back into the shitter very quickly.  (I do realize that's the GOP's game plan.)

      Please Click here to help me get a round 2 Netroots Nation scholarship! Thanks!!

      by Richard Cranium on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:30:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe he's keeping his powder dry (0+ / 0-)

        and going to do it this summer.  Though that would be risky, economy-wise.

        •  I think he needs to pull the trigger quickly (0+ / 0-)

          Latest economic numbers aren't looking so hot, and I think at least some of that can be tied directly to oil prices.  Releasing some of the SPR would be "optics only", though. There's no classic supply / demand issue right now; plenty of oil to be had.  Certainly, there's some degree of fear factor built into the market, but that's been there for awhile anyway.  Most of the recent price increase is simply speculation and market manipulation.

          Please Click here to help me get a round 2 Netroots Nation scholarship! Thanks!!

          by Richard Cranium on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 10:05:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  And if the US had gotten serious about ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... working on alternative energy sources after the first energy crisis, when I first heard it suggested, oh, say ... thirty five freaking years ago ... we wouldn't be in this mess now.

    We never learn.

  •  Wait, what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladyjames, Satya1, indres

    President Obama actually gets that gas prices are so high because of speculation and not because of regulations?

    You mean allowing oil companies to drill everywhere wouldn't actually lower gas prices?  Or building the Keystone pipeline?

    I'm utterly shocked that President Obama is right on an issue and Republicans are wrong.  Well not so much wrong as place oil company profits ahead of the American people.

    27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:09:28 AM PDT

  •  But the pundits say he can't effect prices (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, ladyjames

    Couldn't do anything about gas prices last year Big O;of course it wasn't an election year.  How time fly's.

  •  natural gas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry J, Sparhawk

    Has market manipulation also caused the price of natural gas to fall by 80%?   Is the fall in price of natural gas also being looked into?

  •  This part was funny (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, annieli, splintersawry, wsexson
    "If there is a real investigation, just the appearance of it will cause these cockroaches to scatter," he said, "because the light will be turned on."
    Sure they will.
    •  Beat me to it. (0+ / 0-)

      I was going to say I like the way this Greenberger guy frames things.

      A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, and philosophers and divines. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by tb mare on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:20:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is excellent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladyjames, skyounkin

    Thank goodness actions are being made rather than words.

    Love to have seen this about 2 years ago.

    But, it's not too little, too late.  But, it is definately late.  People are hurting.  Businesses are hurting.  

    It's about time.

    Only horses should wear blinders.

    by independantman on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:16:52 AM PDT

  •  Shortage of Oil is hoax (0+ / 0-)

    As for as natural gas is concerned ,thier is oversurplus that they are running out place to store it,

  •  BP needs to hire Hilary Rosen again. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Like they did back in 2010 during that oil spill. She could use a job.

    Mitt Romney's Like A Box Of Chocolates. You Never Know What You're Gonna Get!

    by kitebro on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:19:00 AM PDT

  •  OMG how dare he compare these wonderful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    American capitalists to cockroaches! Doesn't he know that some of those speculators are stay at home moms who are Catholic Latinos??? More proof that Obama is going to take our guns away!!

    Hey maybe I can get a job writing press releases for the Rmoney campaign!

    Romney 2012 - Let them eat cake!

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:23:43 AM PDT

    •  It's the cockroaches that should be offended. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One thing you can say about cockroaches, they're survivors that put Fidel Castro to shame.  Haven't they been around since before the dinosaurs?

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:36:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of course, none of this will actually happen and Obama isn't serious about any of this (see Bush Tax Cuts, Public Option, Climate Change, Immigration Reform etc. etc.), but at least Obama has seen fit to start humoring us again.  

  •  Congress is not going to act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I get it's campaign grandstanding, but how about doing something that doesn't need congressional monies/approval.

  •  Congress to take action??? Yeah RIGHT!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, skyounkin

    all they have to do raise margin requirements!

    "You can't think and surf at the same time" Yogi Surfdog

    by surfdog on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:27:25 AM PDT

  •  Should have been part of Dodd-Frank (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin, wsexson

    Way too late now.

    (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

    by TrueBlueDem on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:28:37 AM PDT

  •  Not gonna happen with an R Congress. (0+ / 0-)

    Is there anything he can do, such as using the DOJ to look into the speculative practices?

  •  heh (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Siri, Eric Nelson, Larsstephens

    this is a shot across the koch brothers' bow.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:30:21 AM PDT

  •  Only one of these points makes any sense.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First off.. why do you need #1 when you've got #2?

    Shouldn't electronic monitoring of ALL trades be in place right now?  If not, why not?  If there are parameters that make a trade legal or illegal, electronic monitoring of every trade should instantly produce red flags on suspect trades.

    So what needs "critical upgrades"?  Either it is being monitored or it isn't.

    And what does #5 even mean?  We have data but no one can access it?  Or only some people?  Who?

    I can agree with #3 generally.  This is the only point in the plan that makes sense.  If illegal manipulation is caught, punishment should be severe.

    The worst thing is to raise margin requirements.  It only shuts out the small trader, and will just as likely raise prices as lower them.

    Look at natural gas prices - lower by 90% in the past few years while being heavily traded on speculative markets.  It shows supply and demand, and not speculation, is the driving force of price.

  •  The barrel is at $1.03... (0+ / 0-)

    Supply and demand should be set by the producer, not the middleman Big Oil companies that are making billions every month and then cry poor.  

    I could understand the supply and demand argument if OPEC had the barrel much higher as there is more people wanting oil - India, China etc.  But when the barrel is where it's at - the gas companies are price fixing and price gouging.  

  •  Manipulation adding $20 a barrel to the price? (0+ / 0-)

    On NPR just this morning I heard an estimate that market manipulation could be adding $20 a barrel to the price of oil.  

    They drew a useful distinction: Speculation isn't bad, and it can help keep the market efficient.  But when speculators get into manipulating the price, that's bad.  And it makes me wonder who's behind the speculation.  The Koch brothers?  They certainly have the money.  Grover Norquist?  He seems to be gearing up a campaign to blame high gasoline prices on Obama.  Did he, or Karl Rove, or some other power broker send the Koch brothers or some other billionaires to push up the price of gasoline?  

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:34:20 AM PDT

  •  The President and Congress... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...should for once stop lying to the American people about our energy predicament. The reality is that our current situation is unsustainable and must/will change at some point.

    All of these 'invesigations' are an utter waste of resources. If Anericans want to know why gas is so expensive, they need only look in a mirror.

    That's an adult conversation, not childishly pointing fingers at easy scapegoats.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:34:39 AM PDT

    •  I would agree that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, skyounkin

      demand in China, India and other developing nations going up while production has plateaued, increasing production needs that cannot be met even if we tear up every inch of our country trying to suck the oil out, we are in an unsustainable situation. We are living in a world where climate change and peak oil have collided. I think the message has been coming out but not loud enough to drown out those who want to suck the last of the profits out of a business that killing us through wars, pollution and the effects of climate change.

      But why is that message being drowned out? Americans are addicted to oil yes. I think the oil industry is so addicted to the profits derived from it that they're the ones blocking a reality based discussion on the affects of the addiction.

      We know it's the Koch brothers et al that are funding the climate denier movements that has infected the GOP to the point they can't have a rational discussion on climate change when it's happening in real time. They are up to their eyeballs in oil money and seem to be on a mission to mock and block the development and transition to any kind of alternative energy.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

      by Siri on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:03:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too conspiracy minded (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Occam's Razor says that honest discussion is not happening because it is politically unpopular, not because there's a conspiracy to suppress it (hell, BP is now called 'beyond petroleum' and they have significant solar investments).

        It's easy to win elections by pointing fingers, rather than losing by telling Americans the truth.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:12:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We don't often see eye-eye, (0+ / 0-)

          but I agree that telling Americans the truth has been missing for a long, long time. In fact, I think an earnest appeal might not even be a losing one anymore. It would simply require someone to be honest, forthright, and actually use their powers of persuasion to convince people to vote for him/her so s/he can vote for/implement these necessary changes. You know, like a politician is supposed to do.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:21:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Of all of these steps (0+ / 0-)

    I think raising the margin requirements will be the most effective in stopping the worst of the gambling addicts we call futures traders.

    These markets are necessary to give some price stability to companies that actually need to purchase oil. It's all the side betting from people just playing the markets that untethers the price of oil from the fundamentals that should drive the cost of commodities.

    If raisin the margin requirements knocks some of these people out of the game, I'm all for it. I wish they had done it much sooner. The price of oil is too important a driver of the rest of our economy to leave in the hands of a bunch of gamblers. If they want to play in this market, make them really have a stake in it. I'm glad to see this.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:36:26 AM PDT

  •  If Carters energy policies had been enacted.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin, jdowd73

    Where would we be today? Under Carter we reduced oil  imports, increased renewable energy research, and cars got more miles per gallon of gas. He also established the Dept of Energy, encouraged conservation, and sought to increase nuclear energy resources.
     He's the only US president that legitimately tried to reduce our countries dependance on oil...which is oneof the reasons why he has been lambasted by "conservatives" for decades.
     Kept in place, would we have had such a footprint in SW Asia? Would there have been a 9/11? Iraq/afgh war debacles??? Once could make the case that this country would be in a very different state today had we stayed the course.

  •  Missing from the proposal is the one thing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that will actually work:  Forcing contract holders to take actual, phyiscal delivery when the contracts expire.  Then, and only then will you see the cockroaches scatter...

  •  Glad to see Obama floating these initiatives (0+ / 0-)

    (including the Buffett rule and ending oil company subsidies) even though he surely knows they have virtually zero chance of passing.

    I keep going back to a seminal 2004 Atlantic article by Ted Halstead called The Chieftains and the Church, which contrasted the two major parties.

    In his prescient article (highly recommended), Halstead points out that, even when they were out of power, Republicans "introduced one bold proposal after another—never expecting that these would pass in the short run, but hoping to galvanize the party and set precedents for the future. To a considerable degree this worked. In contrast, the Democrats have spent the past three years turning timidity into an art form".

    Halstead was basically, I think, talking about moving the Overton Window before that term became popular. Maybe the President can nudge it back in the other direction with his proposals.

    And speaking of trying to pass these initiatives, did you catch Chris Hayes on Rachel Maddow last night. He posed the crucial question: in today's America, is it even possible to pass any legislation that goes against the interests of the top 1%?

    What do you think?

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:49:27 AM PDT

  •  It's depressing how many people (0+ / 0-)

    think oil prices are dependent only on Presidential decree.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel.

    by Inventor on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:04:13 AM PDT

    •  Yes but... (0+ / 0-)

      While presidential decree is not going to change gas prices and the president has little control over such prices in the global market, he is not powerless.  The US government could subsidize gasoline like other countries - if we really wanted to we could make gasoline free.  Now I think that would be an exceptionally bad idea but I bring it up as a corrective to this idea that gas prices just happen as a result of natural-like forces out of our control.  

      And America has quite a bit of control over the demand of oil.  We also need to stop pretending that Chinese demand for oil is unrelated to US consumption - a lot of the oil is being used to produce disposable plastic crap for the american consumer market.    

  •  I've wondered... (0+ / 0-)

    it's a bit conspiracy-theory-ish, but...

    What if certain wealthy individuals (cough...Kochs...cough) and their friends were doing the speculation specifically to try to drive up gas prices to influence the election?

  •  "Price Manipulation in Global Energy Markets.." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Larsstephens

    This article describes how some individuals have manipulated supplies, and prices, of commodities, including heating oil, wheat, etc.  The traders in the commodities and futures market...

    ...are integral in establishing the price we pay for oil at the pump each day; and the bread, coffee, sugar, beef and orange juice...

    For instance, when Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Royal Dutch Shell collaborated to squirrel  away 80 million barrels of crude oil — nearly enough to supply the entire world for a day — in supertankers off the Gulf of Mexico last January, they too posted unseemly profits on the backs of consumers already struggling as historic prices at the pump continued to rise.  So egregious are such practices that the prestigious MIT commissioned a study to examine whether oil & energy prices were actually reflecting the economic fundamentals of supply & demand; or whether prices more accurately reflected the elasticity of price manipulation within a speculative bubble. You can read pdf version of that study

    There have been attempts to regulate the commodities market:
    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, once a sleepy Wall Street watchdog, is exercising its regulatory muscle, filing a record number of enforcement cases over the last year as it moved to clean up the mess from the financial crisis...

    Wall Street fights back when it's lucrative speculation is threatened:  Wall St. Sues CFTC Over Commodity Trading Crackdown:

    Wall Street's top trade groups launched on Friday a second major legal assault on the biggest overhaul of U.S. financial regulations in decades, suing to block new rules on commodity speculation...In the suit, which had been widely expected given fierce objections from big investment banks and traders...

    The question is whether Congress will be willing or able to put the best interests of the American people ahead of the best interests of their corporate sponsors. Unfortunately, their track record has been pretty dismal in that regard.

  •  It would be interesting to see what would (0+ / 0-)

    transpire if this passes. Part of the rhetoric isn't strictly acurate, or is deceptive, insofar as quotation prices for oil are not the same as what the oil companies actually pay for oil. The latter cost may well be 2/3 of the cost of gasoline, but the first are not, except insofar as they set the popular expectation for what prices will be, and hence what the public is conned into paying.

    For a detailed explanation, see here

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:19:16 AM PDT

  •  haven't we seen this movie before? (0+ / 0-)

    There was a commission put together LAST April for this. The FTC already has jurisdiction to oversea and investigate gas price manipulation. After Katrina they investigated and did not find anything significant. Rather than campaign stunts I'd wish he'd be honest about the problem. Higher demand, volatile supplies and producers, etc. And offer alternatives.

  • screwing up this story (0+ / 0-)

    From the time this story hit the wires, has reported that this is a $52 billion plan.

    $52 Billion?

    Damned morons, only off by a factor of a 1000!

    The real cost is about $52 million.

    Four hours, and it still says $52 billion.

  •  Speculation is gambling (0+ / 0-)

    Houses, Oil, Food. Prices going up or markets destroyed by speculators.

    We need to base our economy on something other than gambling.

    F*ck those idiots and the voters they rode in on.

    by roninkai on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 12:50:26 PM PDT

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