Biden oil move aims to cut gas prices ‘fairly significantly’:
On Thursday, President Joe Biden ordered that 1 million barrels of oil be released from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve each day for the next six months. This is in an attempt to control energy prices which have risen rapidly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted sanctions from the US on its allies. Biden has also ordered Congress to penalize oil and gas companies that lease public lands without producing. He has announced his intention to invoke the Defense Production Act to encourage the mining of minerals needed for batteries in electric vehicles so as to pull the US further away from its reliance on fossil fuels. These actions show the vulnerability oil poses to the US as higher gas prices continue to hurt Biden’s approval rating. Tapping into the US’s stockpile could create the pressure necessary to reduce prices while oil companies increase their production, though the President has already ordered this twice without creating a significant shift in the market. The oil market has reacted well to this latest release, leading crude oil prices to drop by 6% per barrel though it is still up by more than $60 from last year.
California reparations plan advances movement, advocates say:
Robin Rue Simmons, alderwoman of Evanston's 5th Ward and a fourth generation Black resident poses for a portrait in her home in Evanston, Ill., Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, File) SHAFKAT ANOWAR AP
California took a major step this week toward being the first US state to provide reparations for the harm caused by slavery and racism. The state’s reparation task force decided in a divisive vote that compensation will be limited to those who can show that they are descended from free and enslaved Black people who were in the US in the 19th Century. Some reparations advocates strongly disagree with what they see as overly-limited eligibility which excludes those suffering from other injustices such as redlining and mass incarceration. When the 13th amendment ended slavery, the Union army offered compensation in the form of land and mules. However, President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat sympathetic to the Southern cause, revoked this offer after taking office. Now in California, the task force is taking the next step by working with economists to determine how much will be offered to its 2 million Black residents to compensate for this. This step could influence other cities and states to take similar measures and perhaps even pressure the federal government to act.
Sen. Bernie Sanders Creates Legislation to Remove MLB’s Antitrust Law Exemption:
On Tuesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced legislation challenging Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption. Sanders explained his creation of the “Save American Baseball Act” as a way to end the lawful monopoly MLB has over the sport. He has accused the owners of prioritizing profits over fans and expressed his belief that both sides of the aisle have a vested interest in looking at this exemption. MLB’s antitrust exemption stems from a Supreme Court decision in 1929 which found that the league playing across the country was not interstate commerce. This protected it from the Sherman Act, which prohibits businesses from suppressing competition. Sanders has described how removing this exemption will foster competition, bringing it more in line with other major sporting leagues such as the NFL which faces competition from the XFL and USFL.