The airline industry is hoping that they can enlist passengers to combat high fuel prices. So the presidents of 10 major airlines recently published a letter sent to all of their combined frequent flyer members urging them to tell Congress to stop fuel speculators.

It sounds like a red herring, but the presidents say that market traders buy and sell the same barrels of oil over and over again between themselves. This helps jack up the prices, making the traders rich and the airlines scream foul–and charge passengers for luggage, food and

Last night President Bush didn’t address the issue of speculators. His solution, as usual, inelegant and dumb, is to call for more drilling offshore and in Alaska. When Bush was asked about whether he should encourage Americans to conserve energy, he said no, that’s not his job, and that the American people are smart enough to do that on their own.

You may recall that at the last recession, Bush’s answer to economic woes was to tell us all to go shopping. How about passing solar and wind energy credits, pushing for a serious and well funded push to develop alternative fuels, and shutting down Nascar to demonstrate that we are truly wasting fuel and that the answer is up to us?