Taking Stock- Oil Roller Coaster

Dear Mr. Berko: How could it be that a barrel of oil goes from $76, and two weeks later, goes for $86 so that every day, the price of gas rises by 3 cents per gallon? How could this happen, when according to newspapers and TV, the production of oil is way up, inventories are filled to the top and consumption is way down? Are the Arabs messing with us? Are the big oil companies messing with us or are the gas stations messing with us? Can't President Obama do anything to stop the unfair higher prices at the pump? If the cost of gasoline gets to over $3.50 or $4 per gallon like it did a couple of years ago, I will have to stop driving because I can't afford the higher prices in this recession.
 -F.D., Vancouver, Wash.

Dear F.D.:
The best cure for high gas prices is higher gas prices. Higher prices encourage the development of alternative fuels, but Big Oil's 100 years of villainous vested interest stealthily obstructs the development of alternative fuels. So prices rise, and when the consumers' price threshold reaches the final straw, Big Oil and Wall Street banks collaborate to bring down the price. And the cycle is repeated again and again.
   Obama can't do a thing nor can Congress because Congress is owned by the Wall Street banks and Big Oil. You need to understand that Wall Street banks are the pimps of the world. They are a marching army of evil vampire squids with grasping tentacles seeking the soft underbelly of nations and industries, inserting its blood funnels and draining their vitality for nourishment. Oil is a vital trading commodity, the immense profits from which are essential to the bottom lines of Wall Street banks.
   For illustrative purposes, let's assume that:
     A purchases one barrel of oil on Monday for $76.
     B pre-arranges to buy that oil from A for $78 on Tuesday.
     C pre-arranges to buy that oil from B for $80 on Wednesday.
     D pre-arranges to buy that oil from C for $82 on Thursday.
     E pre-arranges to buy that oil from D for $84 on Friday and to sell it on the open market the following Monday at $86 to the world's utilities, airline, industrial plants and governments.
     E, of course, is protected from any adverse change in market price by A, B, C and D, who jointly cover potential losses by directing other profitable transactions to E's trading department.
   Simple as Simon! Safe as a saint and more profitable than owning your own printing press or gold mine.
   Just substitute Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Bear Sterns, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, etc., for A, B, C, D and E.
   Now substitute 150 billion barrels of oil for one barrel, which is what the U.S. consumes in one week. And if you follow the earnings of the Wall Street banks, you know that Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, etc., all reported billions of dollars of profits for the first quarter of 2010. And you know that Bank of America's multibillion first-quarter profits did not derive from making consumer loans, renting safety deposit boxes or opening new checking accounts. Wall Street banks didn't make their first-quarter billions the old-fashioned way; rather, they make those billions trading industrial and precious metals, natural gas, currency futures, mortgages and derivatives.
   Making money the old-fashioned way is too slow and not profitable enough to pay $20 million salaries and billions in bonuses, limousines, private jets, country club dues, political contributions, mega yachts and thousand-dollar bottles of champagne. And sadly, this rape will continue because the power of the dollar (under the hat) convinces Congress to ignore the public good. That's the way the Mercedes "Benz."

   Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 1416, Boca Raton, FL 33429 or e-mail him at mjberko@yahoo.com. To find out more about Malcolm Berko and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.