After campaigning with Barack Obama in Miami in support of the Buffet Tax, liberal Democrat Bill Nelson is bringing his campaign to the Panhandle.
During this stop, Nelson will inevitably blame oil speculators for high gas prices. This is familiar rhetoric for Floridians; since 2005, Nelson has been telling them that speculators are the reason for record high gas prices, which according to economists is factually inaccurate.
As the Washington Post reports:
After I wrote my last piece on gas prices, a number of you e-mailed to urge me to place more of the blame on speculators. So I spent a couple of days looking into the speculation explanation, and am walking away with two main conclusions: First, speculators probably aren’t the problem here. Second, the things that are the problem here are really, really scary. … James Hamilton, an energy economist at UC San Diego, has studied not only the current oil prices, but the 2007-2008 run-up, in great detail. “Speculation is a convenient scapegoat for people who can’t be bothered to look seriously at the numbers,” he says. (Ezra Klein, If only speculation explained gas prices, Washington Post, 04/29/11)
Notably, the Institute for Energy Research has equated Nelson’s rhetoric of blaming speculators for rising oil prices to blaming thermometers for a heat wave.
“Since 2005, Bill Nelson has used oil speculators as his scapegoat for high gas prices and every time he does economists debunk his faulty logic,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “Bill Nelson should stop blaming others for the decisions he and President Obama have made that have resulted in higher gas prices. If Nelson really cares about solving our energy problems, he would quit supporting President Obama’s job-killing taxes and EPA regulations and endorse a pro-jobs, pro-energy policy that will put Floridians back to work.”
The Consistent Timeline Of Bill Nelson Blaming Oil Speculators For Record High Gas Prices
In 2005, Nelson Asked The Bush Administration To Investigate The Rise In Gas Prices. “With average gasoline prices speeding toward $3 per gallon, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Thursday he wants the Bush administration to put on the brakes and investigate the reason for the sudden acceleration. Nelson, D-Melbourne, said he doesn’t believe typical market fluctuations have caused the average price at the pump to rise from the just more than $2 per gallon to almost $3 per gallon in the past week.” (Henry A. Stephens, “Sen. Nelson Wants Probe Of Gas Prices,” The Stuart News, 8/19/05)
In 2008, Nelson Said “Clearly, Unregulated Speculators Have Bid Up Oil Prices To Unbelievable And Unacceptable Highs.” “Commodities traders can drive up the price of oil even when supply increases and demand falls, and Nelson has been outspoken in his frustration. In 2008, he sponsored legislation to ban unregulated speculative trading of oil futures and other energy commodities. It didn’t pass. ‘Clearly, unregulated speculators have bid up oil prices to unbelievable and unacceptable highs,’ Nelson said in 2008.” (Larry Hannan, “Gas Gets Political For 2012 Election,” Florida Times-Union, 8/3/11)
In 2011, Nelson Called “Renewed His Call” For An Investigation Into Oil Speculation. “With the cost of gas surging toward $4 a gallon, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) renewed his call for federal regulators to begin an immediate crackdown on oil speculators.” (Senator Bill Nelson, “Nelson: Regulators Moving Too Slow To Curb Oil And Gas Speculation,” Press Release, 4/22/11)
- Nelson: “It’s No Secret Speculators Are Driving Oil And Gas Prices Through The Roof. … Each Passing Day Consumers Are At The Mercy Of Greedy Speculators.” (Senator Bill Nelson, “Nelson: Regulators Moving Too Slow To Curb Oil And Gas Speculation,” Press Release, 4/22/11)