Senator Bernie Sanders, a staunch critic of oil speculators, leaked the information to a major newspaper in a move that has unsettled both regulators and Wall Street alike.
In a June 16 e-mail reviewed by Reuters, a senior policy adviser to Sanders discusses how his office received private data with the names and positions of traders and forwarded it exclusively to a Wall Street Journal reporter…
“The CFTC has kept this information hidden from the American public for nearly three years,” he said. “This is an outrage. The American people have a right to know exactly who caused gas prices to skyrocket in 2008 and who is causing them to spike today.”
But why the fuss over rising prices?
Everyone knows that, when petrol prices rise, consumption declines. When consumption declines, the production of carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas) declines also. The dreaded urban sprawl is disincentivised, which over time will decrease the conversion of virgin/rural land to urban usage. Most importantly of all, that’s the way the Europeans do it, and everyone over there pays it.
The problem, from Sanders’ standpoint, is that the speculators get the profits, not the state via taxation, which is how the Europeans keep petrol prices elevated. It’s not the fault of the speculators that Congress hasn’t gotten around to raising petrol taxes. Sanders should direct his ire at his fellow Senators and Congresspeople for their spineless fawning of lobbyists rather than at a bunch of poor slobs on the trading floor (or in front of their computer screens) trying to make a living. And the environment doesn’t care how petrol prices rise.
I think Barack Obama has actually figured this out, which is why he hasn’t been very proactive on this issue. Getting oil prices up on a permanent basis is his objective, and he’s decided that it really doesn’t matter how it gets done (although he foolishly backtracked with the petroleum reserve.) With a media unwilling to really whine on this issue now (unlike when gas prices went up under George W. Bush) he can get away with it.
He needs to send a signal to Bernie Sanders to shut up on this issue.