Obama to Request Crackdown on Oil Traders

President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, April 17, 2012, about a plan to increase oversight and crack down on manipulation in oil markets.
President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, April 17, 2012, about a plan to increase oversight and crack down on manipulation in oil markets.

President Barack Obama proposed tougher measures Tuesday to fight the illegal manipulation of oil markets, saying his plan would protect American consumers against artificially inflated gasoline prices.

The country cannot have some speculators reap millions of dollars in illegal profits while consumers suffer, said Obama. “We cannot afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit."

The president is asking Congress for $52 million worth of reforms in the way oil trading is monitored. He wants to hire six times more employees at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which supervises oil markets.

He also wants to raise the penalties for market rigging and allow regulators to require more money to back up speculative trading. “Things that we can do administratively, we are doing," he noted.  "And I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families."

As with many of the president’s initiatives, the stricter oil market regulations could face an uncertain future in Congress.  The top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, criticized Obama’s proposal as a political stunt. “The president’s goal here is not to do something about the problem," suggested McConnell. "It is to make people think he is doing something about the problem until the next crisis comes along.”

Republicans have vigorously opposed the president’s energy policies and they reject most additional financial regulations, saying it costs jobs.

President Obama has been focusing on energy policy lately, with the election less than five months away and Americans worried about the cost of fuel.

U.S. gasoline prices have eased somewhat in recent weeks, after surging in recent months.

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Comment Sorting
by: sugar ray
April 21, 2012 6:43 AM
Yes,oil price is the most important problem. when the crude oil price goes up, the oil price goes up rapidly, but however the crude oil price goes down slightly, the oil price goes up slow. it is so weird. i think it is the invisible hand guiding the speculation of oil price. but i don't know who they are. just guessing.

by: CryHavoc
April 18, 2012 3:19 PM
Once more, it is open warfare on the business environment. All that this will do is cost the consumer more in the long run. We need to build the XL pipeline and concentrate on other constructive things versus wasting money that will cause more unneeded regulation. How about reining in Congress instead?

by: William
April 18, 2012 12:10 PM
Wow what in the hell did we do to finally have that guy do something, 52 million more with no guarantee that prices will go down, Whoopdy freakin doo. I wan't the entire US government to step down and go away!

by: heshukui
April 18, 2012 3:46 AM
I believe President Barack Obama !He isstruggling for the most of Americans。

by: Andybinga
April 17, 2012 12:02 PM
Obama flat-out tried to play it off like he was the one who increased drilling in private sites. What a liar as it was Bush who did that.

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