Carol Platt Liebau: Who's Investigating the Investigators?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Who's Investigating the Investigators?

So Charles Schumer is calling for an investigation into higher gas prices.

As prominent cartoonist and conservative Henry Payne points out, however, the problems are hardly the fault of the oil companies. So maybe Schumer and the others should be looking to themselves.

Certainly, many of the factors that have led to the higher prices are outside anyone's control, as they implicate geopolitical factors in places like Iran and China. And to the extent that Iran decides to withhold oil as the UN deadline for it to surrender its nukes approaches (and passes), the American public will have to decide whether it makes sense to blame the President and the Republicans for refusing to buckle to Iran's insistence on going nuclear in order to get the oil flowing.

But it's worth noting that a good deal of the trouble likewise stems from last year's "energy bill." That legislation mandated that ethanol replace MTBE without an adequate transition period, which may account for a lot of the recent spikes as supply and delivery problems are worked out before the May 5 deadline.

Moral of the story: Heaven defend us from a government that's here to "help" the free market, rather than relying on it.

Moreover, the federal government has now withdrawn any liability protection for the oil companies for contamination problems resulting from its own erstwhile requirement that MTBE be included in fuel. That should make the trial lawyers (and the Democrats) happy -- the lawyers can milk the oil companies on one end, while Democrats try to impose windfall taxes on the other.

So as Schumer and the other big spenders scream "price-gouging" on the party of oil companies, it's fair to ask a question of our own: Exactly when do we get to penalize legislators who engage in tax-gouging? Cut the gas tax!


Blogger Van Arnold said...

Price gouging???
Put it right... Pricerise.. That too caused by the government's actions.
Amn't I correct.
MTBE usage was mandated by the federal government. According to the Clean Air Act of 1990, the use of an oxygenate was required. The oxygenated could be either MTBE or ethanol.
MTBE was found to be efficient than ethanol for the purpose (check out for info on why MTBE is efficient than ethanol)

MTBE did what it is supposed to do.
Finally in 2000, MTBE was found to be causing environmental problems by creeping into water bodies.
Now, the government and the people accuse the oil companies.
Let me tell you 1 thing, the use of MTBE is legal. So, why MTBE LITIGATION
for having used a chemical mandated by the congress and also legal?

4:59 AM  

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