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Robert Samuelson has a column in today's WaPo that should be required reading for anyone with influence on US energy policy.  He begins:

CEPHALEXIN FOR SALE, We should exorcise the politically convenient notion that high oil prices result from the market maneuvers of greedy “speculators.” It’s convenient because it suggests that a solution to high pump prices — or a partial solution — is to banish the offending speculators from the marketplace. That’s fantasy.

Despite periodic debunking, CEPHALEXIN recreational, CEPHALEXIN alternatives, it returns whenever oil prices surge. In mid-2008, buying CEPHALEXIN online over the counter, CEPHALEXIN images, with crude prices approaching $150 a barrel, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) created a task force to study whether speculation caused the run-up, CEPHALEXIN reviews. Buy cheap CEPHALEXIN no rx, The task force included experts from the Agriculture, Energy and Treasury departments, CEPHALEXIN pics, CEPHALEXIN brand name, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Samuelson quotes the conclusion from this task force:

“Current oil prices and the increase in oil prices between January 2003 and June 2008 are largely due to fundamental supply and demand factors, order CEPHALEXIN online overnight delivery no prescription. CEPHALEXIN from mexico, . . . The Task Force’s preliminary analysis to date does not support the proposition that speculative activity has systematically driven changes in oil prices.”

Despite this clarity, politicians hate to admit they are relatively impotent over an issue like high oil (and gasoline) prices.  So, President Obama has resurrected the idea and has once again pointed an accusing finger at "speculators":

“We still need to work extra hard to protect consumers from factors that should not affect the price of a barrel of oil, CEPHALEXIN FOR SALE. . . , CEPHALEXIN overnight. CEPHALEXIN pharmacy, We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets.”

Well, the good news is we don't have to worry about speculators artificially manipulating markets, CEPHALEXIN pictures, CEPHALEXIN for sale, as Samuelson reminds us with a lesson in Economics 101:

It’s true that outside investors (a.k.a. “speculators”) have dramatically shifted money into commodities — raw materials, CEPHALEXIN schedule. Is CEPHALEXIN safe, “Commodity index funds,” which invest in a basket of commodities (oil, buy CEPHALEXIN no prescription, About CEPHALEXIN, wheat, corn), CEPHALEXIN trusted pharmacy reviews, Low dose CEPHALEXIN, have attracted hundreds of billions of dollars. CEPHALEXIN FOR SALE, It’s easy to imagine all this money chasing prices up in futures markets, just as speculative stock market frenzies push share prices to unrealistic levels. It’s also wrong.

The stock and futures markets operate differently, after CEPHALEXIN. CEPHALEXIN description, In the stock market, herd psychology can lead to speculative bubbles or panics, buy CEPHALEXIN without a prescription. Cheap CEPHALEXIN no rx, In a bubble, almost everyone seems to win (until the bubble bursts); in a panic, buy generic CEPHALEXIN, Ordering CEPHALEXIN online, everyone seems to lose (until the panic subsides).

By contrast, futures markets are “zero-sum games.” One investor’s gain is matched by another’s equal loss, where can i buy cheapest CEPHALEXIN online. CEPHALEXIN without a prescription, Here’s why. Under the standard futures contract, CEPHALEXIN dangers, Buy no prescription CEPHALEXIN online, one investor agrees to buy the commodity (say, 1,000 barrels of oil) at a future date for a given price, and another investor agrees to sell for the same price. If the actual price on the settlement date has gone up, the buyer reaps the gain; if it’s gone down, the seller wins. The loser pays the winner; actual commodities are rarely transferred.

There are measures that policy-makers can adopt to help lessen the impact of high oil prices -- and ultimately lower prices themselves.  Chief among those would be assisting in the deployment of vehicle electrification infrastructure and advanced biofuels.  Bashing the bogeyman of speculation doesn't help a bit.

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