Oil prices remained high on Monday despite a pledge by Saudi Arabia to increase production. Traders doubted that adding 200,000 barrels to Saudi Arabia’s 9.5 million-barrel daily output would have much impact on prices. (TheStreet.com)
What the commentators said
It’s time to sue OPEC, said Darren Bush, Harry First, and John J. Flynn in The Christian Science Monitor. The member states call themselves the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, but “organization” is a misnomer. OPEC “is, pure and simple, a cartel that manipulates markets, restricts output, and fixes prices.”
Congress “missed the mark” when it tried to pass legislation to make the government file anti-competition lawsuits against OPEC’s member states, said Donna Wiesner Keene in The Washington Times. President Bush, rightly, threatened a veto because that would have invited retaliation. And congressional Democrats’ other pet policies—a windfall profits tax on oil companies and price controls—were no better. “Casting scapegoats and villains won't address our energy challenges.”
The only way to get the Saudis to open the spigots enough to provide relief is to “scare them silly,” said Jacob Heilbrunn in the Los Angeles Times. To do that, the U.S. can’t just cut its gasoline demand, it must make a real push to conserve energy, encourage new technologies, and develop alternative fuels, from solar to nuclear power, “that will help wean it from its dependence on foreign oil. Until then, the Middle East will continue to have Washington where it wants—over a barrel.”
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