In the Rose Garden this morning, President Obama spoke strongly about the need to crack down on the Wall Street speculation that leads to higher consumer gas prices. “We can't afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher—only to flip the oil for a quick profit,” he said. “We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work. And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else’s expense.”
The White House outlined five steps oday to address the problem:
A six-fold increase in the surveillance and staff budget of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Information technology upgrades at CFTC.
Substantially increasing penalties for energy market manipulation.
Empowering the CFTC to raise margin requirements in oil futures markets, which should reduce volatility and price disruptions
Executive orders to improve intergovernmental data sharing with the CFTC