Obama Announces Empty Crackdown on Oil Speculation

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In the Rose Garden this morning, President Obama spoke strongly about
the need to crack down on the Wall Street speculation that leads to
higher consumer gas prices. “We can’t afford a situation where
speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating
the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher—only to flip the
oil for a quick profit,” he said. “We can’t afford a situation where
some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families
get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should
work. And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to
how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge
profits at everybody else’s expense.”

The White House outlined five steps oday to address the problem:

  • A six-fold increase in the surveillance and staff budget of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

  • Information technology upgrades at CFTC.

  • Substantially increasing penalties for energy market manipulation.

  • Empowering the CFTC to raise margin requirements in oil futures markets, which should reduce volatility and price disruptions

  • Executive orders to improve intergovernmental data sharing with the CFTC

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