THE BLOG
06/15/2011 02:54 pm ET | Updated Aug 15, 2011

Republicans Want You to Pay More at the Pump

It probably doesn't surprise you that Republicans spend a lot of time finding ways to protect their friends on Wall Street.

Just last month, House Republican leader Eric Cantor promised a group of oil speculators that he'll fight implementation of Wall Street reform and make sure new, consumer-friendly regulations never see the light of day.

For you, that means higher gas prices. Why? Well, the folks who Cantor told he would "do my part" by blocking financial reform make their living by betting on the ups and downs in the price of oil. Some experts believe that this excessive oil speculation accounts for 40% of the price of oil.

While many Wall Street analysts would like you to believe otherwise, what's really driving up gas prices isn't supply and demand or unrest in the Middle East -- it's greedy oil speculation. In fact, Goldman Sachs -- the poster child for everything that's wrong with Wall Street -- readily admitted last month that oil speculation is the cause for inflated oil prices.

While we pay more and more at the pump, Republicans in the House are looking for new ways to protect these oil speculators. This week, the Republican leadership is bringing the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill to the House floor. This legislation includes a provision to slash funding for the government agency that oversees and regulates oil speculation. Under the Republican plan, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will see such a drastic cut in funding that it will be unable to carry out its primary role of providing increased oversight of oil speculators. The CFTC needs to be able to regulate the oil futures market to prevent excessive speculation that is driving up the cost of oil. Slashing its budget only hurts American consumers and small businesses by inflating the price of fuel to unsustainable levels.

So why are Republicans gutting this small government agency while oil speculation is at an all-time high? In 2008, a CFTC report concluded that oil speculation played a significant role in record oil prices. Just recently, the agency charged five oil speculators with manipulating crude oil prices and making millions, and many more investigations are currently underway. Now Republicans are attempting to undermine the agency's ability to clamp down on illegal speculation and manipulation.

So the next time you're filling your car up, remember one thing: Republicans are forcing you to shell out more at the pump to pay forWall Street's oil market manipulation. Faced with higher gas prices, Americans will be forced once again to cut back on necessities during a tough economic recovery. This isn't the time for Congress to cut back on a watchdog that works to help ease the pain for all Americans at the pump.