Why couldn't the CFTC raise the margins and provide the exemptions that you stated? I think the point here is to make it more difficult on strictly speculative traders. They're making their money on the volume discounts and leverage. Just make it tougher on them.
Margin-raising is ineffective, as regards the big specs. Why? They'll simply move to SIMEX, DUBEX, Rotterdam, or London. Capital knows no borders.
What WILL cool out the big specs is the following:
1) Suspend Section 1056 of the IRS code specifically regarding big specs in energy mkts. (Explanation on request, it's somewhat technical.)
2) ERISA enforcement. This will remove, in very short order, ALL the pension-fund money that's currently in spec mkts.
3) Felony sanctions for position-limit violations. Right now, all the big specs get when they violate position limits (which some of them do routinely, btw) is a slap-on-the-wrist fine. Make it hard jail time.
4) A revision in daily trading limits, and a change of procedure when a daily limit is touched. (Again, technical, will explain at your request).
Given only the will, these four provisions could be executed in 30 days' time or less. Having been a futures trader since 1972, I guarantee you on my life that the mkts in which these are enforced will be cleared out of ''hot money'' and the overparticipation of the big specs in 2 weeks or less.