Thursday, March 18, 2004

No Spin Zone, meet the SpinDentist

Today's radio factor was a rarity. Bill the Shill O'Reilly, usually a lapdog conservative but once in a while a straight shooter, had warnings for Mr. Bush today concerning the political impact of high oil prices. According to O'Reilly Radio Factor, Bush needs to speak out on this issue, which has some prognosticators predicting a 30% rise in oil prices by Labor Day. If Bush doesn't speak out, warns O'Reilly, then he'll lose in November. Swing voters like their SUVs after all. I guess O'Reilly was looking at the business pages this morning.

According to Reuters,
LONDON -- U.S. oil prices today simmered just below a 13-year high closing price struck the previous session, as the head of the OPEC producer cartel offered little solace for hard-pressed consumers.

New York light crude (CLc1) was trading at $37.85, down 33 cents from Wednesday's settlement of $38.18 a barrel, which was the highest close since October 16, 1990, shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

London Brent was 45 cents lower at $33.08 (LCOc1) a barrel.

Prices stormed higher on Wednesday after U.S. government data showing gasoline stocks fell last week by 800,000 barrels to stand five percent below the five-year average.

The data reinforced worries of a supply crunch during peak U.S. summer holiday gasoline demand as consumption races 4.5 percent above year-ago levels.

Boy, this sure looks timed right. The highest prices just as the summer campaigning is warming up. This is the moment the Democrats should hit Mr. Bush with all they've got about special interests, and about how Cheney set oil policy in collusion with the oil industry, which is making record profits.
OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the cartel, which controls half the world's crude exports, was concerned about high oil prices.

"The current oil price will not be a benefit to the world. We are concerned about that," Purnomo Yusgiantoro told reporters in Jakarta.

Even so he said OPEC would not backtrack on its decision to cut official production quotas to 23.5 million barrels per day from 24.5 million bpd from April 1.

"That is already policy," he said. "We have already cut. Nominations were decided in early March. The April decision is implemented because April nominations were decided at least around March 10."

And OPEC comes in to seal the deal. Less supply, more summer demand, and an oil industry, because of lack of reinvestment in refinery capacity, makes its own product a scarcity, thus higher prices. The SpinDentist is not so nice to Mr. Bush as to give advice. Indeed, he is gleeful that as the prices rise more and more Americans will learn that the Bush Administration oil policy was set by firms that are raking in record profits while those same Americans are taking out second mortgages to finance the commute to work, where, of course, they are in danger of being outsourced.

Looks like the Oil Cartel may just give the Bush Cartel a working over.

You may now rinse and spit.