Thursday, November 29, 2007

Damn speculators

Will someone explain to me how a pipeline fire justifies a run-up in the price of crude oil? Yeah, yeah, I know the argument that the financial geeks will trot out--it has a negative effect on the supply of oil, and that will tend to increase prices.

I call BS on that. The pipeline is a transport mechanism. The supply of oil is the same now as it was this time yesterday. The only thing that has changed is that our ability to transport a smallish fraction of the total we use in a day has been disrupted. Even that isn't as bad as it was last night--the fire is out and 2 of the 3 pipelines shutdown have been restarted. At the worst, this should cause a blip in the price of refined goods somewhere down the line.

In Shakespeare's Henry VI, there is a famous line, uttered by the character Dick: " The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.". Dick was wrong. The first thing we need to do is kill all the speculators, as least metaphorically. These people are, IMHO, the proximate cause of many of the drastic price increases we're seeing these days, as well as the unrealistic run-up of the stock and bond markets. They may (or may not, I'm not convinced of it) serve some useful purpose in the markets, they need to be reigned in--fast. Otherwise, we're all going to be in the poorhouse, while they laugh all the way to the country club.

Those of you who are better educated in the financial world feel free to correct me or otherwise take me to task. But I'm sick and tired of this transfer of my hard-earned coin to these bloodsuckers who add no real value to the market process that I can detect.

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