As Wall Street speculative trading on oil helps push up the price of gasoline, threatening to derail the economic recovery, the government agency charged with regulating oil speculation has so far failed to properly do so. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law gave the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) new powers to regulate oil speculation, but the Republican members of the commission, along and one Democrat, have blocked the CFTC from writing the rules necessary to exercise this power. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are hoping to slash the agency’s budget by a third.
This morning, before an event at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, ThinkProgress asked Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) about the GOP blocking these regulations. Wiener noted that the obstruction on speculation is part of a larger effort to block the regulations necessary for “preventing future problems with economic meltdowns”:
WEINER: Well the Republicans have made it pretty clear the things they’re against, and one of the things they clearly say they’re against is preventing future problems with economic meltdowns. The enforcement agencies that are supposed to enforce the rules of the road — not only of the new regulations that have been passed to protect Americans, but existing agencies [too]. ][…]
Look, the issue of speculation and short selling and the like are complicated issues. … But one thing is very clear to Americans. They understand the idea that the moment there is an international blip, for some reason gas prices almost immediately go up at the pump. And yet it takes months for them to come down. To some degree, there’s just not sufficient transparency in energy markets. And there’s not enough clarify of what’s going on. And one of the thing that Americans need is they need to know that their government regulators are on their job, and if the Republicans have their way, there are going to be fewer of them. And if they further have their way, we’re going to have more bailouts in the future because of Dodd-Frank being undermined.