President Obama's national address on energy on March 30th missed the point completely (please see "Obama Echoes The American Petroleum Institute Mantra"). Not a word about speculation on the commodity exchanges, and not a word about manipulation. This in the face of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' ongoing collusion as a cartel to limit production in order to force prices ever higher. The president's speech on energy seemed profoundly out of touch with the realities of the moment.
Most telling was President Obama's assertion that oil cannot be pumped fast enough to keep up with demand. This in the face of Saudi Arabia's willful breach of their assurances only two months ago that with their 4 million barrel standby pumping capacity, exceeding more than double Libya's output, they would pump enough oil to make up for the loss of Libyan crude.
We now learn that the Saudis have gone back on their word and that "Saudis throttled back oil production," according to the International Energy Agency, in spite of prices for Brent Crude breaching $120 barrel and WTI over $110/bbl.
To put matters in perspective, Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader of the OPEC cartel. Yet we hear not a word of remonstration from the president or his Energy Secretary Steven Chu holding OPEC's production restraints accountable for today's extortionary high oil prices. Nor for that matter do we see any degree of push-back from virtually anyone in government nor commentary focused on exacerbated OPEC manipulation from most any corner of the media.
The only person out there telling it like it is, is Donald Trump. "OPEC is sapping our strength". That truism, simple, straightforward, uttered in anger and concern is far beyond any utterance that our oil addled political class is prepared to make. Does it take someone far from the Saudi financed think tanks along the Beltway and wealthy enough not to be influenced by the oiligopoly to face down the extortion inherent in the construct of today's oil prices, enfeebling the economy and costing Americans thousands upon thousands of jobs?
Even if nothing more, by openly confronting OPEC and making it an issue on the front line of political discourse, Donald Trump has made an important contribution toward an America finding its bearings once again.