Schork Oil Outlook: Schumer’s Dog-and-Pony Show

In regard to yesterday's (Thursday's) U.S. Senate Committee on Finance farce (aka the hearing on Oil and Tax Incentives and Rising Energy Prices), what can we say that we have not already said in the past about these political sideshows?

Other than pandering to the least common denominator in their respective states for cheap media sound bites, what else did the senators accomplish? After watching this particular spectacle, or any of those fat-cat banker hearings, one begins to appreciate why it is so hard to attract even semi-competent (no experience needed) people to run for political office.

Although, that said, we do have to give New York’s Chuck Schumer credit for keeping a straight face when he asked ConocoPhillips' Jim Mulva if he, Mr. Mulva, thought tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry are “… more important than the financial aid that we give to students to go to college”?

For having to answer such a sophistic question, we give Jim Mulva credit for not punching Schumer straight in the jaw.

Had Mr. Schumer compared ConocoPhillips to, say, a certain Benedict Arnold multinational corporation headquartered in Fairfield, Conn., then perhaps Mr. Mulva would have stood a chance. But, asking thoughtful questions in order to establish a meaningful discourse on a serious topic is not what this hearing was meant to accomplish.

Instead, we get insinuations that tax subsidies, to (a total of five) oil companies, prevent kids from going to college.

We are almost surprised none of the senators yesterday accused Exxon’s Rex Tillerson of stomping on puppies or Chevron’s John Watson of removing the tag from his mattress.

Yesterday’s hearing, like most congressional hearings, was an embarrassment. As written in today’s issue of The Schork Report, if any of these bloviating congressmen were serious people, intent upon addressing the misuse of tax dollars, then perhaps they should hold a hearing on the effectiveness of congressional hearings


Stephen Schork is the Editor of The Schork Reportand has more than 17 years experience in physical commodity and derivatives trading, risk systems modeling and structured commodity finance.