In 2000-2001 California experienced what happens when poorly constructed deregulation and federal regulatory (FERC) malfeasence collide. As we watch the same thing unfold again in the investment banking industry – you have to ask yourself can this really be a cooincidence? And why is Phil Gramm – John McCain trusted financial adviser connected to Enron and the subprime crisis?
If you have not seen The Smartest Guy in the Room – put it on the top of your Netflix Queue.
Last week, crude oil hit an all-time high of $146, and the skyrocketing cost of fuel is impacting our customers, our employees, the communities we serve, and the economy as a whole. United, and the majority of other major U.S. airlines, are asking our most loyal customers to join us in pushing for legislation to add more transparency and disclosure in the oil markets. Please see the attached open letter from the leaders of the U.S. airline industry.
An Open letter to All Airline Customers:Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now.For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers. Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation.
Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.
Over seventy years ago, Congress established regulations to control excessive, largely unchecked market speculation and manipulation. However, over the past two decades, these regulatory limits have been weakened or removed. We believe that restoring and enforcing these limits, along with several other modest measures, will provide more disclosure, transparency and sound market oversight. Together, these reforms will help cool the over-heated oil market and permit the economy to prosper.
The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this growing problem.
Inspired by Tim Ferris, I started a news fast about a month ago in order to create more time in my day for living. If you are like me (a news addict) I highly recommend starting this fast to help wean yourself of a 24 hour (digital, and cable) news cycle where most of the information is low or no value. Only after sneaking a few minutes on Drudgereport.com on the 6 day or so did I start to get perspective that all the news was essentially unchanged from the previous week. My fast continues this week with a 2 week vacation in Spain – with no internet.