July 01, 2008
ROBERT SAMUELSON defends commodity speculators. "Who are these offensive souls? Well, they often don't fit the stereotype of sleazy high rollers: Many manage pension funds or university and foundation endowments. . . . 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."
That's often the case, isn't it?