Saturday, November 12, 2005

Obscene Oil Industry Profits -- How They Did It on NOW

You could see why the PBS show NOW has no corporate sponsors on this evening's broadcast. Bill Moyers old show did a marvelous expose (Pain at the Pump) tonight on what is really behind those outrageous oil company profits. It's a neat anti-competitive set-up that includes restricting supply and manipulating prices and under current laws there is not much we can do about it. It's a great 20 minute segment on what the oil industry did to us.

With the aid of some industry whistle-blowers, old insider documents and industry analyists, NOW told the story of how the oil industry has positioned intself to prosper every time they screw up or something bad happens to restrict supply. Imagine having a business where the less product you have, the more money you make. While oil company officials testified with a straight face that the huge profits are just good old market supply and demand, they failed to mention that the concentration in the industry and lack of regulation by their buddies in the people's government allows them carte blanche to have their way on pricing.

It would have been nice if the press had paid some attention to the testimony of Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard who called for new federal legislation to effectively deal with oil company price gouging. Do you suppose our Republican Attorney General would even be aware there is a problem or dare I say Mike Cox is on the side of the oil companies?

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