Legislators With Magic Wands

Oregon lawmakers working to bring down price of gas – OregonLive.com

As the numbers rise, so does the public’s anxiety, which is why members of Congress will be working extra hard at home next week to convince constituents of two things: First, your member of Congress is doing everything humanly possible to drive down the cost of fuel. Second, if you’re feeling pain, your anger should be directed at the other party and at financial speculators.

The strategy has been simmering for weeks, but it came into full view Thursday with energy-related events all day across the Capitol as members scrambled to finish for the Independence Day break. The House brought three bills to the floor, passing two of them. Oregon representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and David Wu all said the action was a prelude to more serious efforts planned when Congress returns.

The war in Iraq is important, as is the economy and the environment and taxes. But nothing has captured the interest of lawmakers more than the price of gas. If you’re not careful next week, you may collide with a politician promising to help hard-pressed consumers cope with high energy prices.

Sen. Ron Wyden is holding an “Energy Independence Tour,” including a forum in Portland on Tuesday.

DeFazio has written an open letter to constituents, talking about the need to reign in speculators and force oil companies to drill more on leases they already have.

On Monday, Blumenauer will have a news conference “to announce his proposal for immediately reducing the impact of rising gas prices.”

He also says it will take time.

I think the legislators, all of them, are being more than a bit disingenuous.

Outlawing speculation? How is Hillary going to retire her campaign debt without the cattle futures market?

If they outlaw the futures market here in the U.S., what is to prevent it from reopening in Japan, Europe or even Mexico? If the market moves off-shore I would think that a lot of money would move with it. Would that be a boost for our economy? I doubt it.

Is Defazio going to waive the environmental regulations to allow the oil companies to drill faster? Or is he going to force them to drill when they don’t know if there is actually any oil? The oil companies are making a good profit now. Why would they submit to rulings that will increase their costs without any reasonable expectation that it would increase their profit? How will forcing the oil companies to drill on these leases lead to increased supply?

If I were in their shoes I’d just release the leases and go look elsewhere. Of course, that would do nothing to increase oil production in the U.S. but that’s not their problem.

Blumenauer is going “to announce his proposal for immediately reducing the impact of rising gas prices.” But then goes on to say that “it will take time.”

Well then, I guess the impact won’t be reduced immediately. Will it?

Another of his proposals is to seek ‘alternative’ fuel. Gosh, I’ll bet no one else thought of that one. What does he think has been going on for years? And what is the incentive for doing it? If it works, the Congress might decide that the inventor would make too much of a profit and seize his idea. That’s a real possibility with the current authoritarian Democrat majority.

It doesn’t inspire me. How about you?

Just what makes these guys think that they know enough about the worldwide oil market, or any other market, that they can micromanage it?

And, if their “solutions’ end up, as I think they will, either increasing the price or, more likely, causing shortages, will they stand up and admit that it was due to their efforts to “do something?”

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