Senator Bernie Sanders Goes After Oil Speculators, Corporate Tax Dodgers

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has had enough of corporate greed.

Senator Bernie Sanders Goes After Oil Speculators, Corporate Tax Dodgers

Yesterday, Senator Sanders introduced a bill called End Excessive Oil Speculation Now Act of 2011, after a several weeks investigation into why oil prices are higher than two years ago, even though supply is up and demand is down.

Not to offend Senator Sanders, but an investigation was never necessary.  Many have long known that oil speculation exists, so perhaps it only need the official stamp of concerned Senators.

We all recall the 2008 prices of gasoline at the pump: oil speculation.  Pure, unchecked trading by Wall Street and other international speculators in the old boys club determined the ultimate price.  Even Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil have admitted the reality according to a press release preceding a Senate Democrat statement on the issue:

“Goldman Sachs estimated last March that excessive speculation was driving up oil prices by about 20 percent, and the CEO of Exxon Mobil recently testified that speculators were driving up oil prices between 30-40 percent.”

Matt Taibbi has also written extensively on oil speculation in his various articles on Wall Street bubble surfers.  In one article, “Wikileaks: Speculators Helped Caused Oil Bubble,” he noted a leaked Wikileaks diplomatic cable that indicated Saudi Arabia asked the Washington to rain in Wall Street oil speculators.

Speculators trade oil asset contracts on energy futures markets, which artificially drives up the price of gasoline at the pump.  They do this by entering into oil futures contracts to buy and sell the oil at a certain price. And the speculators sit on the oil (put it in storage), hoping to sell it at a higher price at some future date—which is what companies like Goldman Sachs did in 2008.

In translation, this means that a consumer buying gasoline at the pump must contend with oil changing hands several times as part of an investor or group of investor’s portfolio. And all of this speculation is just that: speculation. A bunch of greedy maniacs obsessing over the future price of oil and the buyer and seller of the oil futures both crossing their fingers that they’ll come out on top.

Senator Sanders and other Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), are hoping to do something about this madness with the End Excessive Oil Speculation Now Act of 2011.

On March 30th, Senator Bernie Sanders delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, in which he listed some of the top corporate tax dodgers, and called for a “shared sacrifice” for the American people.  Corporate tax dodging, along with absurd defense spending, have been a particular preoccupation here at Death + Taxes with articles “Corporate Tax Dodging” and “Jon Stewart Takes on GE’s Federal Corporate Tax Dodging.”

Watch the video of Sanders’ Senate speech on corporate tax dodging below—it’s really quite stunning, and reveals that there at least a few elected officials left who aren’t corrupt or too given to compromise with corporations.

Naturally, the Republicans aren’t helping Sanders at all.