Patterico's Pontifications

5/6/2004

Terri’s Law Overturned

Filed under: Schiavo — Patterico @ 8:56 pm

CNN reports that Terri’s Law has been struck down by a judge. The story says that the case may be headed for the Florida Supreme Court, which is expected to issue a quick ruling in favor of Al Gore. (Thanks to Calblog for the heads up.)

Council Winners

Filed under: Watcher's Council — Patterico @ 8:47 pm

The Council Has Spoken. Congratulations to Alpha Patriot for the winning Council entry, This Is for You, Dad, and to Blackfive for the winning non-Council entry, Taking Chance Home.

More Media Lies About Energy

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:08 am

Once again, the liberal media is presenting a fabricated history of the California energy crisis.

A New York Times editorial praising Arnold Schwarzenegger revives the myth of “deregulation” in California:

Last week, in an announcement barely noticed outside the state, the governor offered a comprehensive energy plan that dealt the final blow to the unfettered deregulation that helped cause a series of blackouts in 2000, bankrupted a major utility and marked the beginning of the end for Mr. Davis.

What was “unfettered” about a system of deregulation that maintained price controls on the prices that utilities could charge consumers?

The idea that “deregulation” caused blackouts in California is a falsehood, perpetuated by liberals who don’t understand economics — or do, but choose to engage in dishonest rhetoric nevertheless. What caused the problem, for the most part, was not “unfettered deregulation,” but rather half-assed deregulation — a “deregulation” that lifted controls on the prices that suppliers charged utilities, but which fixed the prices charged to consumers. This was great for the utilities when they were getting power cheap, which is why they foolishly agreed to the arrangement in the first place. But as soon as power got expensive, they couldn’t pass on the higher prices to consumers. Consumers had no incentive to conserve energy during times of high usage, and utilities couldn’t make a profit. Hence the blackouts — and the “bankruptcy of a major utility.”

And, of course, you had the spectacle of politicians spending all sorts of money on advertising begging people to conserve — because they refused to do the one thing that could actually cause conservation: lifting the caps on prices charged to consumers. And when this soft-headed strategy failed — a result which was pre-ordained — what do we do? Blame “deregulation.” “Unfettered deregulation,” no less.

The editors at the New York Times certainly know that true deregulation never had a chance in California. Yet they use the word “unfettered” to describe a “deregulation” that deregulated only one end of the power equation. This characterization is dishonest. But, it does help the editors fight their war on deregulation in general. And we know what happens when facts get in the way of a pet position of editors at a major newspaper: facts be damned.


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