Thursday, June 01, 2006

Keep Investigating Until You Get the Right Answer

This column on Barbara Boxer and the FTC's investigation of the price gouging on gasoline prices is bound to make one pause.
This brings us to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Deborah Platt Majoras, ordered by Congress to investigate allegations of price fixing and manipulation by "Big Oil." Pre-Katrina, the FTC found no evidence of wrongdoing. After Katrina, Congress again ordered the FTC to investigate allegations of price fixing, market manipulation and gouging.

But the FTC again struck out, finding no evidence of collusion. An angry Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., refused to accept the outcome, incredibly suggesting perhaps the FTC, itself, should be investigated for failing to come up with the right conclusion!
You can read the exchange in the article. I always wonder how it is that the heads of these departments put up with the political bullshit. I never see them point out that the results are based on empirical data that the Senator could review herself.
Unable to attack the FTC's evidence, Boxer tried a different tack. She accused Majoras of ignoring "the little guy."

Boxer: "So when you talk to working people, what is it they tell you, Ms. Majoras, about the price of gas at the pump?"
Now, why is it that Boxer assumes that the investigator cares what the little guy "thinks?" How is the opinion of the guy on the street relevant to the facts? Maybe the politicos have to feel the little guys pain, or at least pretend to, but when making decisions on whether the oil companies were gouging comes down to the data and what the law allows.

Just another case of Boxer letting her feelings guide her through that mine field of facts.

1 comment:

Granted said...

This is painful stuff. I had no idea that Boxer was a millionaire. That explains a lot though.