Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hank, Here's an Idea

Dear Hank and Ben,

Since you are determined to pump liquidity into the economy, why not do it in a way that would guarantee a nice profit for the taxpayer? Is there some rule that says the taxpayer always must get hosed? If not, I'd like to propose the following outstanding investment that I believe will meet all your goals, while enriching the taxpayer.

You may have been too busy to notice, and if so, you may want to call the Secretary of Energy and ask him to do some checking. But, the energy market is so chaotic these days that it has created a unique opportunity for the federal government (as well as a small group of investors).
I know this seems too good to be true, but give me just a few seconds.

The crude price today closed below $38 per barrel. Meanwhile, the February Futures contract for the same oil is about $46 per barrel. That means if you buy oil today you can store it and sell Feb futures and guarantee a 20% return in 2 months, less expenses. That is an annualized return on your money of over 100%.

You may be wondering-if this is such a good deal why isn't everyone doing it? Good question, and according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some are. The article mentions that BP and other oil companies are storing crude in tankers to take advantage of this golden opportunity. But, here's the kicker...the Federal Government is in a unique position to work this deal, as a result of available capacity in the strategic reserve. This storage option is uniquely large and low cost, and the government has the people and infrastructure in place to activate the plan. Invest a billion dollars and get $1.2 billion back in two months. I know the government can just print money, but this is almost as good, and it is a real money maker in contrast to the printing presses with their risk of unintended consequences. Just to review, here is what you can accomplish with a pen stroke:
  • Inject liquidity in the market
  • Guarantee a great return for the taxpayer
  • Stabilize the commodity markets, which I believe are a big part of the overall instability in the economy.

For my readers, I'm sorry it would be difficult for you too capitalize directly on this idea. But, if it makes sense to you, you may want to forward it to someone in Washington.


Energy Guru/Personal Finance Guru

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