Deregulation


".. some well-aimed campaign contributions will do the trick.. In 1996.. the California legislature tossed out a regulatory system which had provided reasonably cheap, clean, reliable energy to the state...

"Instead of the 20 percent savings promised by the law [pushers], in the first year of full deregulation, their energy charges rose 379 percent" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 129).

"What happened [the blackouts and price explosion] was predictable.. but the political push was on, despite foreknowledge of disaster... They could name their price for electricity and they did -- 30,000 percent above the old regulated price" (130).

"Markets for electricity don't work and can't work. Electricity is not a bagel -- unlike your morning muffin, you can't do without it when it gets too pricey...

"..electricity sellers can extract a limitless ransom. When the weather would not create a shortage, a monkey wrench could. Repairs were scheduled at peak times... deliberate sabotage.. simply threw away spare parts needed to keep the pants running" (131).

"Merely by holding back power from a single generator, the power merchants could make the electricity from their other plants worth more than gold... California power companies used "physical withholding" and "economic withholding" to create false shortages in California. 98 percent of the time -- between May and November 2000... Add in "false congestion," "false scheduling," and "megawatt laundering," and the overcharges add up, conservatively, to $6.2 billion in a single year.

"..the three big California power companies.. spent.. $34.8 million that year on lobbying and campaign contributions" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 132).


"..in Southern California, the wholesale price of electricity there jumped 1,000 percent... Shortage? Nope...

"It turns out the Texas merchant who controlled the biggest pipeline into California, El Paso Corporation, simply blocked access to part of the tube.. California didn't run out of energy, it ran out of government" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 140).


"America regulates industry like no other nation on Earth -- and for good reason. America tried it the other way, hoping the marketplace would reward enlightened producers and drive out the rogues. Not a chance...

"Andrew Jackson ran for president on the platform of outlawing that dangerous new concoction called the "corporations"" (227).

"Jackson and his ally, Thomas Jefferson, feared this faceless, heartless creature made of stock certificates. Before the advent of the stockholder corporation, business owners had names and faces. They could be held personally accountable for their evils before courts or mobs... But, ran Jackson's manifest, "Corporations have neither bodies to kick nor souls to damn." President Jackson could not stop the corporate dreadnought. Instead... Jackson established government regulation as the means by which the democracy would impose a sense of morality upon these amoral entities" (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 228).


Colby Glass, MLIS