Ed Driscoll


GREAT START, POOR FINISH: InstaPundit links to this article by Dan Gilmour in the San Jose Mercury News (or “the Murky News”, as it’s sometimes called out here). Gilmour makes some excellent points about the recent California electricity crisis:

it’s vital to remember that the fleecing of California in 2000 and 2001 didn’t just happen because of some corporate malfeasance and federal nonfeasance, no matter how much we might like to think so. California itself bears much of the responsibility, starting with the bogus but ballyhooed deregulation.

The virtuoso finger-pointing among California politicians is a race from truth. Gov. Gray Davis, who was stampeded into ill-advised, massively expensive power purchases during the crisis, is one of the most ardent deflectors of blame. He shouldn’t get away with this revisionism.

Gilmour loses me with the last paragraph however, which reads like is a cheap copout to end the article on:

Ultimately, the mess is a reminder to ourselves. Our energy gluttony plays into the hands of the manipulators. Think conservation. The energy we don’t need to consume is our own weapon in this fight. Let’s use it better.

A growing state simply needs more electricity–this is Economics 101 here. Which means that conservation really isn’t the only answer here, if indeed it’s an answer at all. Appealing to consumers, who use far less electricity than businesses, hospitals, state and local government-provided services, etc., is just silly. Besides, why should consumers suffer because their local governments don’t have the sense to authorize what should be obvious: building more power plants, the lack of which is what got California in the crisis that Gray Davis only exacerbated.