Majoras: "Well, they tell me a number of things. They tell me that they're concerned about gasoline prices and what it's doing to their budgets. They also tell me, though, such things as, well, it doesn't make them happy to see the big profits that our oil companies are making. Nonetheless, they've sold houses in the past, and they understand that when a certain product sometimes is scarce, or the value of a product goes up, they don't give back money, even if the value of their house has gone up, and they can sell it for more than that which they bought it -- "
Boxer: "Wait a minute. Working people, when they talk to you about gas prices, tell [you] about selling their house?"
Majoras: "Absolutely, because that's where -- "
Boxer: "How many people?"
Majoras: "It just happened last week, as a matter of fact."
Boxer: "How many people have done that, have come up to you and said, 'Oh, I understand the oil companies are doing these profits, because if I sold my house, I wouldn't give back my profit'? Is that what you're saying they tell you about gas prices?"
Majoras: "A number of people have used that analogy, because it's been in -- it's an analogy that they've seen in many of the major newspapers in this country, where the analogy is made. And this is -- you know, as a seller, this is the one place where consumers really relate to buying and selling. And so, yes, they have said this. They have said this to me."
Boxer: "Well, let me say this, I'm interested in this, Mr. Chairman. And I'm going to stop. But I will go home -- I will go home and see if anyone brings up their house when they're talking about gas prices."
Many throw out the term "McCarthyism" whenever they accuse the government of embarking on a witch hunt -- a preconceived conclusion of guilt no matter the evidence. McCarthy, however, actually found a serious threat of communist infiltration at the highest levels of government.
Some of the numerous state and federal probes into alleged price fixing by "Big Oil" resulted in the accused settling their cases by paying small fines with no admission of guilt. But as to the smoking gun of market manipulation, the investigations continue to dig dry holes. So, by all means, keep investigating. And after investigating the results, let's just investigate the investigators -- until we get the right result.