Americans know who’s to blame for spiking gas prices: Big Oil and Wall Street.
As oil prices have skyrocketed, sending gas prices surging to $4 a gallon or more around the nation, American families have suffered. Although the surging prices threaten the national economic recovery as Americans cut back their household spending and driving, oil companies and commodity speculators have reaped billion-dollar payouts. Fossil-funded conservatives blame environmental regulations and President Obama, but a new poll by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN shows that the American public, no matter what party, know that they can just follow the money to find who’s to blame. Nine out of ten Americans believe that oil companies and speculators are to blame for the recent increase in gas prices:
— 89 percent of Americans believe oil companies deserve a great deal of (61 percent) or some (27 percent) blame for the recent increase in gas prices.
— 90 percent of Americans believe Wall Street speculators deserve a great deal of (59 percent) or some (31 percent) blame for the recent increase in gas prices.
Remarkably, the poll found that a majority of Americans of every ideological stripe — Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative — believe that oil companies and speculators deserve a great deal of blame for gas prices. Only self-identified Tea Party supporters break with the rest of the American public, with about 4 in 10 putting the onus on Big Oil and Wall Street.
By comparison, only a quarter of Americans believe that Obama, Republicans, or environmental policies deserve a great deal of blame. (About half of Tea Partiers put most of the blame on Obama and environmental regulations.)
Goldman Sachs, a top commodity speculator, smashed investor estimates with its first-quarter profits, just after admitting a speculative bubble was driving up oil prices and hurting the US economy. Exxon made $5 million an hour the first three months of this year, while complaining that Congress is considering taking away the tax subsidies that have allowed it to pay zero income taxes. Koch Industries, as a top oil distributor, refiner, and trader, is funneling a fraction of its billion-dollar profits to conservative politicians and lobbyists who fight oil market regulation. Glencore, the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, is planning one of the largest IPOs in history, creating four new billionaires and several hundred millionaires.
Cross-posted on the Wonk Room.