Politics of gas prices | Arkansas Blog

Politics of gas prices

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The LA Times mentions Arkansas in an editorial about politicians rushing to capitalize on the gas price issue:

Like most insta-legislation rushed to the floor in the wake of controversial news — think Terri Schiavo — the gas-price proposals should be ignored and scorned.

Take the calls to root out alleged misdeeds by oil companies. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to look at Big Oil's tax returns "to make sure [they] aren't taking a speed pass by the tax man." Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposed breaking up the industry altogether. And state officials want their piece of the witch hunt too. On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he had sicced the California Energy Commission on the case. In Arkansas, a candidate for attorney general also pledged to investigate oil companies, even though that state's anti-gouging law only applies during emergencies.

Everyone likes to see a villain squirm. The problem is, the Federal Trade Commission already has been sniffing out price gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and has yet to uncover one instance of illegal behavior. Election-year investigations into marketwide collusion and gouging are window dressing, nothing more.

The reference is to Dustin McDaniel.


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