Two related things in Tuesday's Juneau Empire caught my attention.
The first was the Associated Press article, "Retail gas hits record $3.50 as oil marches higher," in which the writer said, "Gasoline and diesel prices are expected to keep climbing as they trace the path of crude. Oil prices are charging along with a host of commodities that are enticing speculators seeking hedges against a weakening dollar."
The second was Empire reporter Pat Forgey's article, "Palin officials mull disaster declaration." In it he wrote, "The cost of replacement power could be even more expensive than repair costs," and "city officials estimate it will cost Juneau residents $25 million to cover the cost."
It seems obvious to me the recent unbridled speculation in commodities in general and oil in particular is at the current root of why everyone in Juneau will have to pay dearly for the temporary curtailment of our hydroelectric power. As Forgey went on to say, "Had fuel prices not shot up recently, the backup generators might not even be more expensive to operate than the hydro project."
The lack of adequate government regulation of the banking industry can be pointed to in regard to the ongoing subprime home loan mess. Can we also rightfully point to less than adequate government regulation of Wall Street as we tighten our belts to pay our next three electricity bills? Or is the speculation in oil just something we will all have to learn to bear as part of the dark side of our "free market" system?
It appears those who are "in the market" are helping to drive up the price of oil and enjoying great personal gains while those who are not are left to face the ever upward spiraling cost of fuel. While we desperately need an enlightened national energy policy to address the deeper long-term energy supply issues we face, isn't there something that can be done now to curb the short-term speculation most of us are currently being victimized by?
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