Appearing with a bipartisan group of senators, President Barack Obama thanked oil speculators for bringing the price of oil down to $40 a barrel. "Last June I blamed speculators for increasing the price of oil to $135 a barrel. Now that the price of oil has fallen 70 percent, fairness demands that I thank the same people."
While a candidate, Obama stated: "Big investors or purchasers or buyers can artificially jack up the price of oil in order to secure short-term profits." John McCain joined Obama in praising oil speculators. "I was wrong about these guys." he admitted. "They are true Americans."
As a candidate McCain had said the "reckless wagering" of traders and hedge funds could "distort the market, drive prices beyond rational limits, and put the investments and pensions of millions of Americans at risk." He threatened: "Where we find such abuses, they need to be swiftly punished." McCain called for legal reform to make the oil futures market "clear and effective."
"We all know that some people on Wall Street are not above gaming the system," McCain asserted last June. "When you have enough speculators betting on the rising price of oil, that itself can cause oil prices to keep on rising." Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ilinois) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) who had also railed at oil speculators last August agreed with McCain that oil speculators now represent "what is best about America."
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) offered thanks that legislation he authored to curtail "excessive market speculation" was never enacted. Last May Liebermann claimed the rise in crude oil prices was a due to speculation. "To be consistent, I have to accept that the steep decline in oil prices is also due to excess speculation," he explained.
Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) conceded that the tax legislation to curb speculation they proposed last summer would have backfired if enacted. "It appears that the existing tax structure can propel price decreases as well as increases," Wyden confided. Last August Wyden stated, "It was clear that the tax code is encouraging speculators to bid up the price of oil. In effect they're gambling with the public's money."
Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) appreciated that his bill to ban all unregulated oil trading also died last year. "It turns out that unregulated trading has a good side as well as a bad side," said Nelson.
Finally, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), who last summer stated:"Dealing with the greed of the oil companies is one immediate issue that we have got to address. The second one deals with the growing reality that Wall Street investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, and greedy hedge fund managers are driving up the price of oil in the unregulated energy futures market. There are estimates — and a number of committees here in the Senate have heard different experts testify that the price of a barrel of oil today is 25 percent to 50 percent higher than it should be because of excessive manipulation of oil futures markets and excessive speculation. This is an issue that must be dealt with."
Sanders has recanted. 'êI was wrong," he confessed. 'êI'êm a jerk."