Kudos To Senator Clinton

I’ve been giving the matter some thought, and I think it’s time to give the devil her due. Of all the candidates running for president, and the current president and powers that be in Congress, only Hillary Clinton has actually done something about rising gas prices. And we should all be grateful for her efforts.

This is kind of complicated to explain, so bear with me.

If there is one thing that is indisputable, it is that the Clintons are great at making money. Back in Arkansas, Hillary managed to parlay $1,000 into $100,000 in her first and only venture into the cattle futures market. Later, when Bill was governor, she held a partnership at Arkansas’ most powerful law firm, and won a spot on the Wal-Mart Board Of Directors, both of which paid quite handsomely.

In more recent times, Bill has been the one leading the way in bringing home the bacon. I haven’t looked too carefully into the matter, but it would not surprise me in the least if he was the most financially successful ex-president in our history. The Clintons left the White House with a hefty legal bill, but since then they’ve bought homes in New York and around DC, and managed to pull in over $100 million in six years or so. That’s not chump change, by any stretch.

now, whether or not you buy into the “nature” or “nurture” argument, you can can pretty much assume that Chelsea Clinton has picked up some financial acumen from her parents. That’s not always a safe assumption, but usually the children of rich families who don’t get the family gift for money show that they’re messed up in plenty of other ways — Paris Hilton, Ted Kennedy, most of the younger Kennedys, and so on.

For all that you can say about the Clintons (and I’ve said most of it), one thing you have to admit is that they seem to have done a damned good job raising their daughter. By all appearances, she’s a healthy, normal, well-adjusted, successful young woman, despite the remarkably freakish circumstances of her upbringing. She’s a credit to them.

OK, that’s part one. Here’s part two:

The price of gas is going up higher and higher pretty much every day. I’m no expert on such matters, but from what I understand, that is largely based on the price of oil, which is also going up pretty much every day.

It’s easy and tempting to blame Big Oil, but that overlooks a key point: they don’t SELL oil by the barrel, they BUY it by the barrel. So when the price of oil goes up, that doesn’t directly translate into more money in their pockets.

The price of oil is being driven up by several factors. One of them is the continued instability in the Middle East. Recently, a couple of Iranian gunboats got too close to a US cargo ship being used by the US Navy, who warned them off with some shots, and that sent the price of oil spiking. (Which helped Iran out financially, but I’m sure that’s a coincidence.) But another is the speculation in the oil market.

Speculators are inserting themselves in the oil trade as middlemen, buying oil futures and selling them when the price rises. They are betting that the price of oil will keep going up, and intend to keep making money on that as long as they can. (These are the same people doing the same thing that they did to the US real estate market.)

Now, some of the biggest speculators in the oil commodity market are hedge funds. These largely unregulated funds are huge players in the market, among others, and they wield tremendous power thanks to their tremendous deep pockets.

Here’s where it all ties together:

Chelsea Clinton works for Avenue Capital, which manages about $20 billion dollars in money. I don’t quite know what her duties are, but she is a part of that money machine.

Well, technically.

She’s currently on a leave of absence from that job so she can campaign for her mother’s presidential campaign.

That is what Hillary Clinton has done to help bring the price of gas down: she has taken at least one person out of a hedge fund, reducing the number of people who can buy up oil futures and keep driving up the price of oil and gas and all derivative products.

No, it ain’t much. But when you compare it to the actions of President Bush, Senator Obama, Senator McCain, Majority Leader Reid, or Speaker Pelosi, it’s far more than they’ve done so far.

Kudos, Senator Clinton!

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