Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Strategic Oil Reserve

President Bush has announced that he's deferring contracts to fill the Strategic Oil Reserve "in order to get more oil in the market and help reduce rising gasoline prices".

Since everything he says like this is a lie or misdirection, I wondered what was going on here.

The Strategic Oil Reserve is normally filled with "royalties in kind" (ie. a percentage of oil pumped from US-owned oil fields.)

It looks to me as if he's allowing the oil companies to profit from selling US-owned oil at extremely high prices, and they will then give us some oil later when the prices are low. In other words, it's another gift to oil companies. If instead the US accepted ownership of the oil owed to the government and sold it immediately, the treasury would benefit instead of the oil companies.

I'm open to evidence this isn't what's happening, but I'm so pessimistic about the Bush presidency that it's the sort of corruption I expect.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Food And Agricultural Global Cartels

I've been arguing lately over at Jeffrey Alan Miron's "The Case for Small Government". The author makes innumerate arguments of the "4 reasons for government, 6 reasons against" style, recycling totally standard libertarian talking points. No imagination, no new ideas, and he doesn't defend his positions: he lets libertarian idiots defend his assertions. Why do I bother? Well, he's supposed to be a Harvard economist, teaching a course in this twaddle, and that's just 2 miles down the street from me. Think globally, act locally. :-)

Another reason though is to incite me to find new resources for the Critiques site. So after Miron's usual innumerate criticism of antitrust, I decided to find some numbers because of the enormous fines I'd heard about for price fixing in lysine, antibiotics, and other commodities.

The Food And Agricultural Global Cartels Of The 1990s: Overview And Update
John Connor at Purdue details roughly 13 billion dollars of customer overcharges due to price fixing in just one industry sector. An excellent argument for the continued importance of antitrust law.

Added to my Privatization and Deregulation index.

Also there, and well worth reading:

Liberty! What Fallacies Are Committed in Thy Name!