More Government Interference

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is suing BP (of Gulf oil spill fame) for allegedly manipulating Texas energy markets seven years ago. There are two rationales for the case: one is the $48 million fine FERC hopes to collect on trades that produced the magnificent profit of $250 thousand—because, hey we want the money.

The other reason is the government’s use of the Panic of 2008 that began shortly thereafter as a handy excuse for increasing government regulation, ostensibly for “transparency” [emphasis added]

The case represents one facet of a broader push toward greater oversight of physical and financial commodities markets in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and scandals like the 2001 collapse of Enron Corp. The raft of new regulations brought in to increase transparency and prevent market abuse has turned up the pressure on commodities traders, including BP, one of the world’s largest traders of oil and gas. Several Wall Street banks have abandoned or significantly reduced their commodity-trading activities as a result of the increased oversight.

What’s the value of transparency regulation when it destroys the very thing government claims it wants us to be able to watch?

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