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Kudos To Senator Clinton

I've been giving the matter some thought, and I think it's time to give the devil her due. Of all the candidates running for president, and the current president and powers that be in Congress, only Hillary Clinton has actually done something about rising gas prices. And we should all be grateful for her efforts.

This is kind of complicated to explain, so bear with me.

If there is one thing that is indisputable, it is that the Clintons are great at making money. Back in Arkansas, Hillary managed to parlay $1,000 into $100,000 in her first and only venture into the cattle futures market. Later, when Bill was governor, she held a partnership at Arkansas' most powerful law firm, and won a spot on the Wal-Mart Board Of Directors, both of which paid quite handsomely.

In more recent times, Bill has been the one leading the way in bringing home the bacon. I haven't looked too carefully into the matter, but it would not surprise me in the least if he was the most financially successful ex-president in our history. The Clintons left the White House with a hefty legal bill, but since then they've bought homes in New York and around DC, and managed to pull in over $100 million in six years or so. That's not chump change, by any stretch.

now, whether or not you buy into the "nature" or "nurture" argument, you can can pretty much assume that Chelsea Clinton has picked up some financial acumen from her parents. That's not always a safe assumption, but usually the children of rich families who don't get the family gift for money show that they're messed up in plenty of other ways -- Paris Hilton, Ted Kennedy, most of the younger Kennedys, and so on.

For all that you can say about the Clintons (and I've said most of it), one thing you have to admit is that they seem to have done a damned good job raising their daughter. By all appearances, she's a healthy, normal, well-adjusted, successful young woman, despite the remarkably freakish circumstances of her upbringing. She's a credit to them.

OK, that's part one. Here's part two:

The price of gas is going up higher and higher pretty much every day. I'm no expert on such matters, but from what I understand, that is largely based on the price of oil, which is also going up pretty much every day.

It's easy and tempting to blame Big Oil, but that overlooks a key point: they don't SELL oil by the barrel, they BUY it by the barrel. So when the price of oil goes up, that doesn't directly translate into more money in their pockets.

The price of oil is being driven up by several factors. One of them is the continued instability in the Middle East. Recently, a couple of Iranian gunboats got too close to a US cargo ship being used by the US Navy, who warned them off with some shots, and that sent the price of oil spiking. (Which helped Iran out financially, but I'm sure that's a coincidence.) But another is the speculation in the oil market.

Speculators are inserting themselves in the oil trade as middlemen, buying oil futures and selling them when the price rises. They are betting that the price of oil will keep going up, and intend to keep making money on that as long as they can. (These are the same people doing the same thing that they did to the US real estate market.)

Now, some of the biggest speculators in the oil commodity market are hedge funds. These largely unregulated funds are huge players in the market, among others, and they wield tremendous power thanks to their tremendous deep pockets.

Here's where it all ties together:

Chelsea Clinton works for Avenue Capital, which manages about $20 billion dollars in money. I don't quite know what her duties are, but she is a part of that money machine.

Well, technically.

She's currently on a leave of absence from that job so she can campaign for her mother's presidential campaign.

That is what Hillary Clinton has done to help bring the price of gas down: she has taken at least one person out of a hedge fund, reducing the number of people who can buy up oil futures and keep driving up the price of oil and gas and all derivative products.

No, it ain't much. But when you compare it to the actions of President Bush, Senator Obama, Senator McCain, Majority Leader Reid, or Speaker Pelosi, it's far more than they've done so far.

Kudos, Senator Clinton!


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Comments (24)

As I understand it, the rap... (Below threshold)

As I understand it, the rapidly rising demand in China and India has reduced supply. Couple that with OPEC's sitting on their ass regarding more production, our own refusal to do any drilling in ANWAR or Gulf of M, and you have the price hike.

That's what president Bush ... (Below threshold)

That's what president Bush said. He also said in both the 2000 and the 2004 debates "if the price of oil goes up... I'm in the oil business and I'll make some phone calls." well....still waiting on the phone calls.

I also understand our capac... (Below threshold)

I also understand our capacity to refine the oil is not adequate so we are bidding for not only oil but gasoline. Maybe if we can get the lefty environmental whacko's to quit trying to stop refining plant construction. ww

I would like to see The McC... (Below threshold)

I would like to see The McCain-Obama-Clinton bill brought to the floor saying
No more Ethanol subsides, or government mandates. (A humanitarian gesture )
The allowance of American Oil production and refining and Nuclear Energy. This would show everyone reaching across the isle for the good of the American people and McCain working with his own party.

Nope Having Hill contribution is all we can really expect.

As I understand it, the ... (Below threshold)
tim swabb:

As I understand it, the rapidly rising demand in China and India has reduced supply. Couple that with OPEC\'s sitting on their ass regarding more production, our own refusal to do any drilling in ANWAR or Gulf of M, and you have the price hike.

Well, ANWAR would only be a temporary solution the fact is there isn\'t that much oil there. I think I read an estimate that it would be good for 10 cents off the price of gas or so. Which hey, would be nice, but it will also take awhile to get that in production another large part of the problem is simply that Oil is running out.

Dick Cheney gave a speech on peak oil in the 90s. It is often tied to those who are trying to find motivation for Iraq in Cheney\'s previous statements, but the fact is that Cheney felt that oil production would peak sometime around 2010 and then would start falling as supplies dwindle. (Experts disagree whether the peak is close or not but most have it between 2010 and 2025) You couple that with massive demand now from China and India, instability in the middle east, the falling value of the dollar and so on and you get high gas prices.

Glenn Beck had an article on this on CNN the other day if I remember it correctly he argued that synthetic oil could be produced at $50 a barrel. Not sure how clean it is though. but that would be nice if it is a reality. I think it would mean gas at about $2.00 a gallon.

the fact is I think we need to start investigating ways to get off oil. It is not good for our country to be so dependent on a resource found primarily in the most volatile part of the world.

I'll never get those five m... (Below threshold)

I'll never get those five minutes back

BTW you didn't mention the falling dollar - that's a huge contribution to the accelerating cost of gas, although not on point wrt the Clinton thing...

Gah, you made me read that ... (Below threshold)

Gah, you made me read that whole thing!?

Pumping our own oil won't c... (Below threshold)

Pumping our own oil won't change prices unless we pump enough to flood the world oil supply. The other oil producing nations, primarily OPEC, can absorb any small production increase (on a global scale) with a production decrease.

And since demand and pricing is global, unless the global supply changes the price won't change. Now drilling domestically might pump a few dollars into some of the local economies though. However, the pump won't see anything different.

So when people put the blame for the price of gas on us not willing to drill in ANWAR or the Gulf, that implies we are prepared to nationalize the pricing & marketing of that oil.

Pumping ANWAR and the Gulf,... (Below threshold)

Pumping ANWAR and the Gulf, aside from being ineffective without either flooding the international marketplace or nationalizing the sale, is one of those things that gets talked about and never happens.

We had Republicans in control of the Presidency, the Senate, and Congress for years and it didn't happen. Who are we going to elect that will make it happen?

We had Republican just not ... (Below threshold)

We had Republican just not too many conservatives.
Some links on where we get oil and alternatives.


"...only Hillary Clinton ha... (Below threshold)

"...only Hillary Clinton has actually done something about rising gas prices." -- Mr. Tea

Still yet another reason to support Barack Obama. It's good when gasoline prices go up, to encourage conservatives to get around to CONSERVING, and to sway conservatives (like Mr. Tea) to belch less filth into the air with their SUVs, filth we bicyclists, alas, have to inhale.

Crude oil is priced in US d... (Below threshold)

Crude oil is priced in US dollars. Commodities speculators and pricing of the barrel in dollars are the main two factors driving it. I wouldn't think refinery capacity has much effect now (it did during Katrina/Rita). When you go to the station do you see long queues?
Face it the "Big Oil" argument just doesn't hold water this year. Crude at $117/BBL is just under $2.80 per gallon just to buy the stuff from the Saudis. Combined taxes on a typical gallon of gas are roughly 50 cents or higher so there's not much left for the refining margin, bulk plant, and retailer.

encourage conservatives to... (Below threshold)

encourage conservatives to get around to CONSERVING

WHo says that that is true. If you live in major city with good public transportation maybe you can give up your car. Look how many years did we hear that we need to have high gas taxes to force americans to conserve gas. however prices have increased and we are still consuming the same amount. Why well many people cannot go and out and buy a new car. They also may bot have choice but to drive to work. So no matter what the price they will have to pay it.

The prices of oil and gas a... (Below threshold)

The prices of oil and gas are related, but not in linear fashion. IOW, oil could go down a good bit - like 50% or more - when the speculative bubble bursts, but gas wouldn't go down as far or as fast because there is a whole 'nother set of supply and demand equations to apply.

Our refineries are already running at 95% of capacity, which is effectively 100% (since SOME down time must be scheduled for periodic maintenance and repairs, etc.). As domestic demand increases, we will soon begin having to import refined gasoline just to keep up. Not only would that entail a premium and shipping costs, but foreign refineries don't produce the 20+ designer blends our federal government has, in its infinite stupidity, mandated for various areas of the country (in regular, "plus," and premium, no less).

Without a few new refineries planned soon for fast-track approval and construction, gas won't be going down much, even if oil does.

Oh, and Obama is correct: ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and Obama is correct: a "gas tax summer vacation" is about the stupidest idea to come down the pike since, well, threatening to withdraw from NAFTA. The average family would save roughly $30 over the summer. That won't fill up my tank once. What possible benefit could it be?

And Herman - of all people! - is right that cutting the tax would only encourage MORE consumption in a time of shortages.

But for the record, I run down bicyclists for fun. If they have leftist stickers or tee-shirts, I back up and do it again. ;-)

Nancy Pelosi promised us a ... (Below threshold)

Nancy Pelosi promised us a Democrat plan to lower gas prices quite awhile ago, but still has not produced one.

Just more of the Democrats failures.

JayI look forward ... (Below threshold)


I look forward to reading you, but that was a serious stretch. Bad, even.

Sorry, but even though I know it was tongue-in-cheek, it was pushing it.

I have to agree with the commenter above who suggests that the current weakness of the Dollar helps greatly to increase our perception (and reality) of the price of oil going up. I just got back from Germany - the Euro kicked my wallet's ass!

A friend of mine and I figured it out, and their gas, converted to dollars, is only $1 - 1.50 above ours, which is a way better deal than they were getting just a few years ago - taxes included! Cranes everywhere, too. Lotsa construction.

Now don't get me wrong - I believe that we're in a period of "water finding it's own level," while they are on the edge of a tightly stretched bubble. I know enough Europeans to sense that they are ready, both economically and socially, to boil over.

Sure, Jim, but should we te... (Below threshold)

Sure, Jim, but should we tell him about all the SUV's out there with Obama bumper stickers?

As domestic demand... (Below threshold)
As domestic demand increases, we will soon begin having to import refined gasoline just to keep up. Not only would that entail a premium and shipping costs...

The stuff about the various blends is probably correct, however you would have to ship almost twice as many oil for the same gas. You could do the final blending locally. So refining it abroad should be a shipping savings. Not to mention the savings that cheap labor and lower environmental standards would also bring. In fact, it seems odd we don't import more. I smell the stench of protectionism.

Operating a refinery requ... (Below threshold)

Operating a refinery requires setting it up to handle a specific grade on input petroleum and setting it up to produce specific kinds of output products, gasoline, fuel oils, other refined products like LPG, etc. So its less protectionism than specialization.

Gas blends are re-mixes fro... (Below threshold)

Gas blends are re-mixes from the separated components plus adding some non-petroleum additives. Gas for use at the pump would not likely be shipped. However the basic components could be shipped for custom blending which, I'm guessing, is not the bottleneck in the refining process.

In fact, we're able to handle imports around 10% now.

How about if Hillary invest... (Below threshold)

How about if Hillary invests that 100 million they've made in cattle futures, takes the billions that will translate into, reinvests that and then buys Saudi Arabia!!?? Come to think of it, that's just about when I'd vote for her.

Jim,We already buy... (Below threshold)


We already buy 66 million gallons of refined Gas a day from Canada.
We sell them oil and they send back down gas. Which is why we need to build more refineries.

Also Gas has overshadowed it for now but we need more power plants. Remember all those rolling blackouts in CA a few years back. We have 104 Nuclear Plants providing 20% total power let get it up to 50%.

Jim Addison - "But for the ... (Below threshold)

Jim Addison - "But for the record, I run down bicyclists for fun. If they have leftist stickers or tee-shirts, I back up and do it again."

You, sir, are an asshole.

I guess I shouldn't expect much from someone who is too stupid to know what "hypocrite" means.







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