Thursday, July 10, 2008

hm: is my airline pulling my leg?

though they say one is born every minute, i would hesitate to call myself a 'sucker.' so it is with a cocked eyebrow and skeptical face that i read an email from United Airlines, asking me to lobby on their behalf:

Dear Ms. Ding,

Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now.

For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers. Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation.

Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.

Over seventy years ago, Congress established regulations to control excessive, largely unchecked market speculation and manipulation. However, over the past two decades, these regulatory limits have been weakened or removed. We believe that restoring and enforcing these limits, along with several other modest measures, will provide more disclosure, transparency and sound market oversight. Together, these reforms will help cool the over-heated oil market and permit the economy to prosper.

The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this growing problem.

We need your help. Get more information and contact Congress by visiting

don't you feel sorry for all the big airlines? doesn't your heart just bleed??

i know how these things work. Big Conglomerate gets hit with bad business or bad publicity, the first thing they do is hire a firm to get them out - and one surefire strategy is 'Get the public on your side.' (Wal Mart has yet to grasp that concept, what with their suing brain dead women and all.) that site was created by some strategic marketing/communications firm and i wonder which one it was; i also wonder what the angle is.

because it's *almost* altruistic. an industry actually calling for market regulation??

that's almost anti-capitalist.

1 comment:

Orange said...

Who are you going to believe, United Airlines or Paul Krugman? Krugman says that speculators aren't what's raised oil prices so high. Getting Congress to crack down on speculation will keep Congress busy, sure, but it is going to be as effective as mandating better fuel efficiency and encouraging Americans to use less oil?