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Obama's Oil Manipulation Strategy Fails   June 30th, 2011
Don't fight the markets, Mr. President. You'll lose. Every time.       

 
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In a classic example of the free-market overpowering the unsustainable manipulations of government, the price of oil is rising just days after President Obama released oil from the strategic reserve to lower oil prices. Oil has recovered 80% of the loss triggered by Obama's ill-advised oil release.

Oil prices have surged in the last few days and are now less than a dollar from where they were when President Obama made the controversial decision to tap the nation's strategic reserve last Thursday.

As of Thursday morning, West Texas Intermediate crude traded up 19 cents at $94.96 a barrel. That's nearly $5 over the lows crude hit last week following the oil release announcement.

Oil's stubborn refusal to trend lower since the United States and other industrialized nations announced they would flood the oil market with 60 million barrels of fuel over the next 30 days is raising questions over what's driving the market -- fundamentals or pure speculation?


Again, this is classic. The day that the oil release was announced, I wrote:

The idea that they can spook speculators into bidding down the price of oil may work over the short-term. But unless the true causes of high oil prices (printing money and restricting U.S. drilling) are resolved, it will just be a momentary retreat.

The price of oil will reflect the true value of the dollar and the laws of supply and demand as restricted by Obama's drilling policies. Trying to spook speculators into bidding down the price of oil is not a strategy that will work over anything but the short-term.

In the long-term, market forces always win. Always. And since Obama's policies are not compatible with the free-market, Obama's policies will always lose. Always.


It appears it only took a few days for the market to prove me right. In fact, oil prices were trending down in the month before Obama released the oil, but within a few trading days that trend had reversed and is now heading up.

Once again, we have evidence that the market will do what the laws of economics demand. As I wrote, "The price of oil will reflect the true value of the dollar and the laws of supply and demand as restricted by Obama's drilling policies." All the government can do is temporarily interfere.

Just as government cannot sustainably manipulate the price of oil, it can't effectively restart the economy with artificial spending, indefinitely keep interest rates low, nor keep the prices of homes from falling when there's oversupply. Eventually the market will dictate the correct price regardless of what the government does. In the case of Obama's minor attempt to manipulate oil prices, the market just overcame government manipulation faster.

This should be yet another "teachable moment" for President Obama and those that support excessive government intervention in the economy. There's simply no free lunch. The government can't make oil prices magically go down against market forces any more than it can magically prevent housing prices from going down against market forces.

The market will always win. Always. Trying to manipulate and defeat the market was a complete waste of our strategic reserves.

But thanks, Mr. President, for reducing our strategic reserve by 30 million barrels in your attempt to learn how economics works. Great thinking! Now I just hope we don't have a real strategic emergency and find ourselves 30 million barrels of oil short.

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