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How Futures Lobby Will Beat Regulation

Cramer pulled no punches on Tuesday when he called the oil futures market a “total farce.” He blamed unregulated speculation for artificially inflating crude prices to the detriment of investors and consumers. Worst of all, he’s not sure the government can stop it.

That was the focus of today’s Outrage. As well intentioned as Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler may be, and he’s considering new rules to limit futures trading, the industry lobby holds “tremendous amounts of…congressional mindshare,” and they’ll use it to maintain the status quo. Why not? They’re making big bucks right now. And these guys “don’t just have clout,” Cramer said, “they have a game plan.”

The Mad Money host today laid out what he thinks that plan is: Futures traders will reach out to the politicians whose elections they funded to influence Washington’s response. They’ll take the same approach with the universities that accepted their cash and get academics to publish “research” on how futures markets are too “deep” to be manipulated. A full-on media assault will trumpet message as well.

Then they’ll get so-called captains of industry to say that speculation provides the market with liquidity, and that makes better markets for hedging. And, of course, they’ll deny that last summer’s near $150 oil prices had anything to do with speculation at all – it was Chinese demand. Those that benefit most from deregulation will also say that investors need to be able to hedge against skyrocketing prices, such as those from last summer, even though they were the investors that drove crude to that level.

Lastly, they’ll say that it’s regulation that caused these problems in the first place, and that more rules will cause more problems. Maybe they’ll tap White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, a native of Illinois, home also to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where many of these trades take place, to stop the call for greater government control. They might even threaten to pull their operations offshore, which would most certainly kill any new rules.

While Cramer admitted he was being a “tad facetious,” he said, “I don’t think I’m being too cynical.” Oil is “a national imperative and an economic lifeline,” and it should be protected from trader abuse. So what the US needs is fair market in which to trade it.

“The opposition to reform must be stopped, “Cramer said, “and the good guys, represented by Gary Gensler, must win. Or else we’d better get used to paying $4 a gallon for gasoline.”

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