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VIDEO: Cantor Admits Speculators Have Helped Guide GOP Financial Policy

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"VIDEO: Cantor Admits Speculators Have Helped Guide GOP Financial Policy"

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Our guest blogger is Micah Uetricht, a staff writer for Campus Progress. He lives in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @micahuetricht.

On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was in Chicago to tour the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and speak with commodities speculators at the CME Group, where he assured that the Republican caucus would “do our part” to block the implementation of the Dodd-Frank. The CME Group has particular interest in the bill because, as ThinkProgress pointed out Tuesday, they are the biggest owner and operator of private exchanges for derivatives in the world. The CME Group specializes in trading contracts and derivatives products related to oil and food.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have already pushed to defund regulators mandated by Dodd-Frank with limiting the amount of oil speculation in private exchanges such as the CME Group. In addition, they have pushed to delay new rules on derivatives. Where could Republicans be getting these dangerous ideas? At one point during his speech, Cantor admits that executives from the CME Group had met with Cantor to help guide his approach to financial policy:

CANTOR: To me, it all comes down to the very, very end user that you serve, and those are the customers. Those are the working families who consume, who invest in our economy every single day, and can do so in a competitive posture partly because of what you do to help this economy of ours function. [...] So again, I thank you very much for what CME group does, thank you for your team, your management team—Terry and others, who have been terrific in helping us in Washington understand a very complex regulatory system we’ve got so that we can make sense of it and produce a commonsense result that will help everybody.

Watch it:

To refer to derivatives traders and commodities speculators as simply servants of “working families” is wildly inaccurate. While some speculation is healthy for the market — helping bonafide producers and consumers lock in prices for the future — over the last few years, the business has changed dramatically. Now, speculators with no interest in actually helping producers or consumers dominate the market. Most of these speculators are simply buying up oil and food contracts hoping to cash out on higher prices down the road, thus causing skyrocketing prices for food and oil for regular consumers across the globe. This unregulated catastrophe is not only causing pain at the pump, but is threatening to derail the already fragile economic recovery in America. If Republicans succeed in defunding commodity regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the problem of speculation will become worse.

Usually, Republicans cloak their opposition to regulating Wall Street and the financial sector in ideological rhetoric. Some, like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who has a bill to repeal all of Dodd-Frank, attack financial reforms for empowering so-called “Washington bureaucrats.” However, it is rare to see comments like the ones made by Cantor to the CME Group, where he readily admitted that he takes advice from speculators, and promised to block regulations. Cantor’s comments echo the words of Financial Services Chairman Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who told reporters in December that his role is to “serve the banks.”

With friends like these, it should be no surprise that both Bachus and Cantor are top recipients of financial industry campaign contributions.

Click more for an extended transcript:

CANOR: To me, it all comes down to the very, very end user that you serve, and those are the customers. Those are the working families who consume, who invest in our economy every single day, and can do so in a competitive posture partly because of what you do to help this economy of ours function. And again, they’re looking for nothing but a fair shot. They’re looking to make sure their government’s not making it harder for them, and in fact, an easier way for them to look towards a better future. So again, I thank you very much for what CME group does, thank you for your team, your management team—Terry and others, who have been terrific in helping us in Washington understand a very complex regulatory system we’ve got so that we can make sense of it and produce a commonsense result that will help everybody.

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