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CALIFORNIA LEFTISTS HAVE ONLY THEMSELVES TO BLAME
Energy Crisis caused by Environmental wacko High-Jackers
By Jeff Brewer
jbrewer@politicalusa.com

5/21/01

The URL of this column is:
http://www.politicalusa.com/columnists/brewer/brewer_012.htm

California’s bout with energy shortages offers a classic case study in what happens when a state/nation is dependent on other nations for their energy sources. You get the raw end of the deal; you’re at the mercy of the profit-seeking supplier. In this year of intermittent blackouts and power company bankruptcies, the state of the Beautiful People is forced to procure its power from other, energy-rich states, most notably from that veritable wasteland checkered with thousands of harmful, evil power plants, the greatest state in the Union—TEXAS.

Governor Gray Davis’ recent column in the Washington Post showed the despondency of the liberal democrats now at the helm of the nation’s largest state. Handcuffed for years by the environmental tree-huggers from both parties during the past decade plus, Davis’ piece illustrates the blame shifting now being done by these same liberals, as they deflect criticism for the current crisis. Instead of accepting responsibility, the clueless Davis instead blames everyone under the sun for California’s problems, excluding the real culprit, him and his ilk.

He blames the free market, that blessed engine of capitalism. Davis’ contends that deregulation of the state’s electricity industry is the problem. Predictably, how or why this would be the case, he doesn’t explain. He opines: "Although Californians were promised lower rates and plentiful supply, both predictions have turned out to be disastrously wrong. We now have seen our first statewide rolling blackouts since World War II." Here, the governor is only partly right, though. Because while deregulation allows for potentially increasing competition by freeing up industry, which usually leads to lower rates, these lower rates are dependent on the other side of the equation—Supply. You can have all the deregulation in the world, but if you don’t increase supply to meet demand, rates will continue to be high. Governor Davis doesn’t understand this principle of economics.

To his credit, though, he mentions the lack of any new power plants over the past 14 years as "centermost" to the state’s failure. However, according to the governor, his administration’s energy commission "has licensed 14 new major power plants." A handful of these may be fully operable as early as this summer he says. If that’s the case, they better hurry up. More than likely, though, the plants under construction won’t be functional for another two years according to energy experts.

Governor Davis’ admittance of the lack of power plant construction as being casual in this crisis is certainly a start, but the democrat doesn’t touch on the subject again in his column. You would think that this "centermost" (as he termed it) problem would offer the best solution to California’s ills, but the governor aims his vitriol at other factors and players, all of which can be identified with either George W. Bush or the free enterprise system.

He turns his attention to the "unheard of wholesale prices for power" that have bankrupted the state’s largest utility and "threaten to bankrupt the second largest and have begun to seriously affect" California’s economy. As everyone knows, deregulation allowed the state utility supply companies to go outside of the state to purchase power; this was an alternative to intrastate supplies. While this worked alright for a while, when California couldn’t (wasn’t allowed to) generate its own additional supplies to meet the demand of an additional 10 million souls that entered the state over the past decade, the state was forced to garner power almost exclusively from other states.

And now, these unregulated evil capitalists from outlaw places like Texas and elsewhere in the South are selling power to the needy Californians at higher rates then the governor would like to pay. He finds this completely unfair, even cruel, even though his state and his party kept California from being self-sufficient by not building anymore freaking power plants for nearly 15 years! What did he expect to happen when the state takes on 10 million residents over that same time span??? Oh well, Governor Davis doesn’t want to accept the blame due him and his left-wing party. He continues to blame the free market and big oil and big gas and big electricity for the current plight he finds himself in.

The reason that firms like Houston based Reliant Energy can sell a megawatt hour for $1,900 to those liberal paupers in California is because California has no alternative supplier to compete with Reliant or other companies. Certainly having to pay this amount when you once paid an average of $30 for a megawatt hour is unfortunate for the people of California. But liberals are to blame, not these energy companies that are only seeking a profit, as the free market encourages all its players to pursue. When you discourage construction of power plants or halt it all together, sooner or later you’ll be at the mercy of another supplier. That’s common sense. You can increase the production capacity of already existing plants, but this is a short-term solution. New and bigger plants are the answer and perhaps alternative energy sources as well. But until these plants are workable or until alternative sources are sufficiently developed, whatever the market will bear as far as prices are concerned, will determine how much California pays for power.

To stop these "price gouging" capitalists, Governor Davis calls on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to step in and install temporary price controls. This typical government solution would probably ease (temporarily) the problem, to be sure, but federal intervention is a stupid thing. It sets bad precedent, and it encourages liberals to repeat their folly with the knowledge that Uncle Sam will bail them out; they won’t be discouraged in the slightest from a repeat performance. California must be made an example of what happens when liberal buffoons highjack a state’s political controls, and enact inane green policies that punish Americans for joyous consumption and eventually leave millions of residents in the dark. I applaud President Bush’s hands-off approach and hope he continues to resist the idea of intervention. He must squash this entitlement mentality that says government solves all problems, takes all responsibility for states’ and individuals’ mess-ups, and remedies dilemmas that have free market solutions. The President’s current resolve is the beginning of the weaning process.

Conservatives warned for years that this was going to happen. Conservatives on the Assembly floor in Sacramento would rant about the need for new power plants; they were roundly dismissed as capitalist friendly loons, though. "By golly, California sure wasn’t going to "destroy" the environment by appeasing the evil white capitalists," I’m sure the libs said amongst themselves. But as the mean conservatives forecast, California was on the road to shortages. And now, the liberals have what they’ve always wanted-a socialist utopia of darkness tempered by candlelight and wheat sprouts.

California will get back on track…eventually. But not before they invest in the construction of additional power plants and other energy generating complexes, be they nuclear, geo-thermal or otherwise. Until then, Californians must suffer; they must be made to remember what happens when people that value marijuana and whales more than baby humans and comfortable living are enabled to make policy for an entire state. After this experience, maybe the people of California will wise up and elect more conservatives that have their best interests in mind, including accoutrements that involve electricity and gasoline, which permit travel and computers and cooking. And for all Californians that knew better, I sympathize with you. Either ride out the storm and wait till the new plants come on line, or else move your families elsewhere, like Texas, where energy is plentiful.

As for the nation as a whole, this situation with California provides a classic example of what might happen if we too continue to rely on foreign sources of energy to meet our demands. Do we want to be at the mercy of our Arab enemies or the Russians or anyone else for crude oil or natural gas or coal? If we ever are, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.

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