Tired of high gasoline prices and rising food costs? Well, here’s a solution. Let’s shoot the speculators. A chorus of politicians, including John McCain and Barack Obama, blames these financial slimeballs for piling into commodities markets and pushing prices to artificial and unconscionable levels. Gosh, if only it were that simple. Speculator-bashing is another exercise in scapegoating and grandstanding. Leading politicians either don’t understand what’s happening or don’t want to acknowledge their own complicity.
A better explanation is basic supply and demand. …
Politicians promise to tighten regulation of futures markets, but futures markets aren’t the main problem. Scarcities are. Government subsidies for corn-based ethanol have increased food prices by diverting more grain into biofuels. A third of this year’s U.S. corn crop could go to ethanol. Restrictions on oil drilling in the United States have limited global production and put upward pressure on prices. If politicians wish to point fingers of blame, they should start with themselves.
I was content that he didn’t seek a government solution, his usual default. Directly (and accurately) blaming politicians is more than I could’ve ever hoped for. I think I’m going to stock up on canned goods now. The end is near.
And yet, there is proof that there are some constants. Following his whining about the Heller decision, E.J. Dionne is back with more lamenting on the conservative court and what it means for the people. Basically, he writes an ode to jurisprudence based on outcome rather than principle. He concludes:
The four conservatives on the Supreme Court, when empowered by the swing vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, have already shown their willingness to overturn the will of Congress and local legislatures when doing so fits their political philosophy. The same majority could keep conservative ideas in the saddle long after the electorate has decided that they don’t work anymore.
I still hold to the idea that truth is independent of when public opinion reaches 50.1% in favor of an idea. They may correlate, but the latter is not a requirement for the former.