One of the favorite conservative myths of the moment involves the supposed “job-killing” effects of regulations coming out of the Obama administration. Today, it was evidently 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s turn to take this tall tale out for a spin. During an event in New Hampshire, Romney claimed that the rate of new regulations under Obama has “increased four-fold,” resulting in businesses being buried under a pile of red tape:
The level of regulation in America, every the regulators, the government, come up with new regulations. And they send them out. The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’
The proposal by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now officially a GOP presidential candidate, for President Obama to “put a moratorium on all regulations” seems like pure, unadulterated insanity.
That would mean no food inspections; no clean air; Wall Street repeating the same horrible things that nearly brought us to the brink of an economic disaster which was averted by a bail out. Perry wants to try no regulations at all…for a while!
Perry’s “moratorium on regulations” would mean a literal end to the rules of law in the United States. At least it would also mean that all of President George W. Bush’s midnight regulationsfavoring polluters and industry abuses would also be lifted.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), the only “socialist” (as he calls himself) in the U.S. Senate, seems to be the only politician speaking out against the “oil speculation” racket being perpertrated on Wall Street…
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) demanded on Thursday that regulators impose limits on oil speculation to help lower the price of gas in a letter sent to President Obama.
“There is mounting evidence that the skyrocketing price of gas and oil has nothing to do with the fundamentals of supply and demand, and has everything to do with Wall Street firms that are artificially jacking up the price of oil in the energy futures markets,” Sanders wrote. “In other words, the same Wall Street speculators that caused the worst financial crisis since the 1930s through their greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior are ripping off the American people again by gambling that the price of oil and gas will continue to go up.”
Last year’s financial reform bill required the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to crack down on commodities speculation by imposing “position limits” — a cap on the size of the bets that Wall Street traders can place. The agency was required to apply the new rules by January 22, but the CFTC has delayed the rules in order to collect data.
“What is particularly offensive is that this could and should have been prevented under current law,” Sanders wrote.
While at least part of the recent spike in oil prices is likely the result of unrest in the Middle East, the heavy volume of Wall Street speculation may be exaggerating the rise, if not driving it outright. The number of speculative bets on food and energy today is even higher than in 2008, when oil reached its highest price ever, sparking food riots across the globe. CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton has been pushing to implement position limits soon, citing heated speculation and a March 21 research note from Goldman Sachs analyst David Greely that claimed Wall Street gambling in the futures markets is in fact driving up oil prices.
Obama announced a new inter-agency working group to combat fraud in the oil markets on April 21, but some economists and experts believe the effort will have a very limited impact on gas prices. Commodities speculation is perfectly legal, and traders do not have to break the law in order to drive up prices.
Charles and David Koch, the owners of the country’s second-largest private corporation, are libertarians of long standing, who contend that government regulations, taxes and subsidies stifle individual initiative and hamper American competitiveness. In recent years, the Kochs have played an increasingly public role as financial angels for conservative causes, politicians and foundations.
What’s not so well-known is the activity of Koch Industries in the trenches in Washington, where a Center for Public Integrity examination of lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records reveals a lobbying steamroller for the company’s interests, at times in conflict with its public pose.
The money that Koch (pronounced “coke”) has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations. Continue reading here…
A helicopter crew and pollution investigators have been dispatched to Main Pass Block 41 in response to two calls to the National Response Center, the federal point of contact for reporting oil and chemical spills, said Paul Barnard, an operations controller for Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.
The first caller, around 11 a.m., described a sheen of about a half-mile long and a half-mile wide, he said.
About two hours later, another caller reported a much larger sheen — about 100 miles long — originating in the same area and spreading west to Cocodrie on Terrebonne Bay, Barnard said.
“We haven’t been able to verify that, and it would be very unlikely for an individual to be able to observe a 100-mile long sheen,” he said, adding inspection teams were en route around 3 p.m. to the site.
Eileen Angelico of the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which oversees offshore oil and natural gas production, said late Saturday afternoon that her agency was awaiting Coast Guard confirmation of the nature of the sheen. The bureau had not received word from any operators in the gulf of a spill, she said.