Speculators Are a Smoke Screen

Published July 2, 2008

Thank you for shedding some much needed light on the inane public discourse regarding speculation (“For Love of Speculators,” July 2). It should be common wisdom that when the powers that be all concur on who is responsible for an unpleasant event, the real culprit is usually someone or something they, themselves, wish not to expose.

As in the Great Depression, when both Hoover and Roosevelt blamed short-selling in the stock market for the 1929 crash, Democrats and Republicans today are pointing to speculation — this time buying instead of selling — for the rise in the price of oil. In both instances the image-conscious politicians used the bogeyman of speculation to mask the true cause of the country’s woes: anti-growth legislation and the Federal Reserve’s excessive manipulation of the money supply.

Speculation is a sign of a healthy market hedging its bets. The problem today is not the people who are, as King Abdullah said, “acting for their own selfish interests.” On the contrary, the people decrying such actions are the ones who deserve the most scrutiny.

Ryan Krause ([email protected]) is a legislative specialist intern at The Heartland Institute in Chicago, Illinois.