Thursday, September 22, 2005

Behind the Mask of Natural Disasters: Open Season for the Gouging of America

This information is very upsetting, though not surprising, as we continue to see how this administration ONLY caters to big businesses even in times when America and Americans need the most help.

After hurricane Katrina hit, several oil refineries were damaged for a few days. Within this time span, the price of gasoline went up to an average of $3.07. With Hurricane Rita now on the path to Texas and specifically the Houston area (which produces about ¼ of the oil used in the country), we are very likely to see another hike in gas prices.

However, are the drastic increases in gas justified?

Many economist and energy specialist have noted that in order for gas to be at $3 a gallon, oil per gallon would have to be around the $90 per barrel range. Even at the height of the crisis, oil per barrel floated around the $70 range.

There are several signs that have pointed to profiteering and gouging of gas prices by the major oil companies (the ExxonMobile, ChevonTexaco, etc.) during this time of crisis. I can’t think of a more despicable thing than for large businesses to take advantage when people most need help.

Some have talked about the looting in New Orleans after Katrina. Well, the real looting wasn’t in New Orleans, it was all around the country. The evil culprit here wasn’t nature or water, it was pure greed. The focus should have been on these oil companies instead of just a couple of guys looting some shoes and TVs.

Eight Democratic governors have asked the president to investigate the possible price gouging from the major oil companies. In a letter, they say they're concerned about "excessive profits being made by oil companies who are taking advantage of this national crisis.”

The letter cites a study by a University of Wisconsin economist who found the hurricane was not entirely to blame for high prices at the pump.

So all is good right? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now looking into this possible price gouging by the oil companies. We may get some answers as to why gas went up so quickly (as well as back down so quickly). We may get to hold gas companies accountable if they are ones to blame for this gas gouge.

Oh.. silly silly you. This administration is way ahead of you on this one. How could you possibly think that this administration would let anything hurt the profits of the oil industry that has given the GOP so much financial support in the past?

So how will they get over this one? Well, guess who runs the FTC? Last year, Bush appointed a former ChevonTexaco Lawyer, Deborah Majoras, to head the FTC. Isn’t that fantastic and forward thinking of Bush? A former oil lawyer at the FTC. That pretty much eliminates any type of investigation on the oil companies.

The likelihood that the FTC will find any price gouging offenses by the oil companies is slim to none. Not only is this bad, but it gives a stamp of approval to any future gouging that the oil companies will no doubt try after any disaster.

Way to be there for the American People again Mr. President.

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