Tim Russert discussing the price of gasoline with Energy Secretary Sam Bodman:
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, if, if demand is up but supply is down, why are the profits so high?
MR. BODMAN: For that reason.
The response wasn’t good enough for Russert.
Expose the Left has the video.
Here were stock guru Jim Cramer’s thoughts:
MR. RUSSERT: Jim Cramer, you are renowned capitalist. What do you think of all this?
MR. CRAMER: Valero was able to buy its largest competitor; the government looked the other way. Valero is running its refineries, though, 105 percent of the time. They’re ‘round the clock. We have 100–we have 140 refineries in this country; we had 350 refineries 20 years ago. We have a huge refinery problem, and you can’t build them. And it’s not a federal government issue. It’s a local government issue because no one wants a refinery next to them.
MR. RUSSERT: So what we have is lack of refining capability…
MR. CRAMER: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: …an increased worldwide demand, ethanol being added and blended in…
MR. CRAMER: Without preparation.
MR. RUSSERT: …and do you believe the oil companies have been adding on a little bit extra profit?
MR. CRAMER: I, I think if they could drill they would drill. If they could refine more, they would. These are companies that are run for the shareholders, but they’re run to be able to produce as much oil as we can possibly use. They want to do that. Lee Raymond, he, he generated $67 billion in profits for his shareholders. I think that that’s a reasonable return, $144,000 a day. Katie Couric makes $85,000 a day. What value has she created vs. 67 billion by Lee Raymond?
Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated post, Greg Mankiw gives an example of a fundamental attribution error:
Why did I raise my price? Because demand increased more than supply.
Why did the gasoline station raise its price? Because oil companies are greedy price gougers.