Oregon lawmakers blame Wall Street for rising beer prices

Merkley and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) said commodity speculations on aluminum, copper, gas and electricity are raising prices on everyday products that middle-class families use, including beer cans, home improvement products that contain copper and even gas for cars. 

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“This unregulated gambling does little to serve the broader economy while burdening American families who have already suffered at the hands of Wall Street’s reckless behavior,” Blumenauer said.

The three lawmakers visited Hopworks Brewery in their home state Tuesday to discuss rising costs. They then sent a letter to financial regulators demanding that they implement Dodd-Frank financial reforms and stop Wall Street speculation practices.

“That’s why I’m calling on our federal regulators to rein in this speculation,” Merkley said. “Families shouldn’t have to pay a speculation ‘tax’ at the pump, the home repair store and the beer aisle.”

Bonamici partly blamed Republicans for trying to repeal Dodd-Frank financial reforms that were implemented after the 2008 financial crisis to protect consumers.

“Federal regulators need to prevent these rising costs by moving quickly to enforce the Dodd Frank reforms, and members of Congress should be fighting attempts to undermine implementation through funding cuts and piecemeal repeal,” Bonamici said. “We should be doing all we can to help families and small businesses in Oregon and across the country.”

Oregon is one of the highest beer producing states in the country. In their letter, the lawmakers cited reports that Wall Street speculations have cost brewers and beer drinkers $3 billion.