May 22, 2008 | Graham

So you thought George Bush was an idiot



Maybe he’s smarter than Congress. According to Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure.
The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that U.S. companies must follow.
The measure passed in a 324-84 vote, a big enough margin to override a presidential veto.
The legislation also creates a Justice Department task force to aggressively investigate gasoline price gouging and energy market manipulation.

Makes less sense than invading Iraq to me, and that didn’t make a lot of sense at the time. The Whitehouse thinks that the law would lead to less oil being available in the US rather than more, which seems to be the only conclusion any sane person could come to.
Brendan Nelson’s petrol excise cut looks positively saintly and sane compared to this!



Posted by Graham at 4:40 pm | Comments (7) |

7 Comments

  1. I’m sure OPEC will be trembling in their boots.The Bush administration have displayed their utter impotence.
    All the Arab nations now know that the US does not have the stomach for a fight.Prior the Iraq invasion,the US had them bluffed and now the entire world is paying the price for Bush stupidity.
    If this greed by OPEC continues,expect a world wide economic collapse of monumental proportions.
    In other words,if the West falls in a heap,they still have the markets of China and India to sell to.We have become irrelevant

    Comment by Arjay — May 22, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  2. This one was a Hillary Clinton idea in the last days of the Indiana/North Carolina primaries. The Economist had a good piece at the time on why it is practically unenforceable.
    http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11321446
    The same story also explains why cutting petrol excise taxes is a bad way to respond to rising oil prices.

    Comment by Terry — May 23, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  3. But Bush is not having to face re-election, the members of Congress are. So just like the fuel exercise cut, it is all about politics and how it will play with the voters. Forget about the economics or effectiveness, just get us past the November elections.

    Comment by rossco — May 23, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  4. Thanks Terry. I suspected that Dems were in there as much or more than Republicans. Sometimes I wish Paul Keating would come back and educate the world on economics. I could forgive him for defecting to the Balmain basket weavers if he did. Australia used to be the one place in the world where you could get an educated discussion on economics from politicians. Now we’re slipping back, and it’s time for some remedial lessons.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 23, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  5. Graham and all:
    Now there is as compelling a reason as any for the Americans to introduce random breath testing and whoopie-weed detection into both the Congress and the White House.
    After silliness like that, I’m sure they would be much happier taking Australia’s place as being subjects of the British Crown – again. :-)
    Yes, can’t help but feel that Paul Keating and John Hewson were the two greatest liberal prime ministers Australia never had.

    Comment by Graham Bell — May 23, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  6. Something the U.S. does is that it earmarks the fuel excise levy for highway construction. One advantage of this, at least politically, is that it means that jobs can be attached to the question of foregone revenue. On the McCain/Clinton summer gas tax holiday idea, Obama was able to put a figure on the number of jobs (and, importantly in the context) the number of jobs that would be lost in Indiana if that revenue was not collected. It wasn’t big – about 300 – but it was at least tangible.

    Comment by Terry — May 24, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  7. On a slightly different note I just heard about the “Oklahoma imperative”, which refers to the fact it is the state with the largest production of ethanol and it is the first primary. This means that if you want to be President of the US you need to be pro-ethanol, or you may never get out of the primary starting blocks!

    Comment by Graham Young — May 25, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

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