The Energy Department's Craven Obeisance to the Oil/Gas Gougers

05/25/2011 12:00 pm ET
  • Raymond J. Learsy Author, 'Ruminations on the Distortion of Oil Prices and Crony Capitalism'

According to Reuters the Bush administration has little complaint with the production cuts planned by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in its attempts to support oil prices now hovering around $60 a barrel. Secretary Bodman, quite incredibly, commenting on the OPEC's cuts was quoted, "I can't tell you that I'm dissatisfied with where it all is, but we'll see," Bodman told reporters.

For our Energy Department to provide public cover to any attempt by OPEC (price gougers par excellence) to manipulate oil prices is patently outrageous. It is tantamount to providing moral blessing and political support to monopoly behavior that would be showered with indictments were these American companies acting in similar collusion. Only an administration that is run and bought by oil interests would permit itself such an egregious position, so blatantly against the common good and the nation's economic interest (though, through the resulting inflated oil prices, highly profitable for the oil industry). Expressions of outrage at the oil cartel's attempt to artificially raise prices would have been the exact and appropriate response thereby reflecting the interests of the national weal.

According to the International Energy Agency the cuts are especially ill timed "...because demand will increase as the heating season nears". Compare Bodman's reaction to that of Claude Mandil's the Agency's Executive Director pointed response to the announced OPEC cuts and the threat by Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi for further cuts in December. "I think this cut comes at the worst time possible. I don't like the ideaof OPEC trying to defend prices of $60 a barrel. That is not helpful to consumer nations and poorer countries."

It's long past time that we, as a nation, took our government back from the oil and gas interests!