Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Perfect Storm of Stupid

(Cross-posted at Ezra Klein.)

Please, Democrats, stop talking like this.

Championed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the bill would essentially make it illegal for foreign nations like those in OPEC to operate a cartel.

Under federal law, foreign governments cannot be sued for failing to comply with federal antitrust laws.

"We don't have to stand by and watch OPEC dictate the price of our gas," Conyers said. "We can do something about ... this anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior. And we are."

Uh, unless I totally missed that day in Political Science 101, I'm relatively certain that American sovereignty ends at the EEZ. And where the hell did we get the idea that it's America's gas? America produces less oil today than it did during the Eisenhower administration, half as much as it did during the Nixon administration, but somehow this is OPEC's fault? There's no evidence that OPEC is restricting supply, which makes this a demand-side issue. That's something that America could have addressed at any time over the last, uh, thirty years or so. Like Dick Cheney, America had other priorities.

And what if we get our wish, and Americans start suing the House of Saud? Would we lower the price of oil one jot? No, because there's always more buyers for oil. The only viable strategy is to lower demand. This freakshow of a bill needs to be killed, and soon.


Anonymous said...

Not only that, OPEC is modeled on our old Texas Railroad Commission, yes?

According to wikipedia:

"The East Texas oil field’s discovery sparked a boom in production that sent prices plummeting. After a lengthy battle, the Railroad Commission won the right to limit the production of oil to keep the price of oil from falling too low. Because of this regulation, the commission was important to the national and international energy supply until the 1970s. It also served as a model in the creation of OPEC."

- odograph

john said...

An important point, o. American's aren't anti-cartel, they aren't even anti-oil-cartel. They're anti-foreign-oil-cartel-when-