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Restarting American Offshore Leasing Act Now

Location: Washington, DC

We are headed toward $4.25, $4.50 a gallon by Memorial Day, the usual oil company run-up when the driving season starts, crushing the dreams of American families, small businesses, and our economic recovery. But, hey, the profits are up. It's good.

Republicans say, It's just supply and demand. It's simple. So if we add a small increment to future domestic supply, 5 or 10 years from now, that will bring down the price.

No, it won't. Remember, it's a world price commodity. In fact, supply is up. The U.S. has 12.6 million more barrels in storage than the 5-year average. Demand is down. Americans can't afford the price and the economy is depressed. Libyan lost production has been made up by the Saudis. Every gallon of that has been made up.

So what is really going on? Well, it's market manipulation, price gouging, profiteering and speculation. But the Republicans won't take on their benefactors from Big Oil and Wall Street. Even Goldman Sachs says that $20 a barrel is excessive speculation. Twenty dollars a barrel. That's 60 cents a gallon. We could stop that tomorrow. Put a tax on speculators. Or encourage the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to regulate what you're trying to block. But you're not going to do that because, hey, that would upset the speculators on Wall Street who are making a fortune.

On the NYMEX Exchange, 45 percent of the trades in one day were driven by computers. They traded twice the world's daily oil consumption, by computer, in one day, driving up the price, and the Republicans say, Oh, it's supply and demand.

It's not supply and demand. It's market manipulation. It's price gouging. It's speculation. Do something about it. Those tools are before us.

Yeah, if you want to have a debate about future domestic supply from natural gas or offshore drilling or biodiesel or whatever, let's have that debate. If you want to get people relief this year, save our economic recovery, save American families, then take on Wall Street, take on Big Oil, take on the speculators. Or I guess you're afraid they won't contribute to your next campaign.

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