No. of Recommendations: 4
Well, this is why the "deregulation" was botched. For it to work, they had to make sure they had sufficient supply in-state. The voters, since you like to blame them, were often told very little about the details of this "deregulation" (which was nothing but changing the type of regulation).

Well first let's be clear about something. It isn't that I "like" to blame the voters. This isn't as personal as you are making it. The facts blame the voters, I'm just the messenger of a message that isn't getting to the voters. If the voters were told very little, it's because they didn't want to know the details. I can't blame them for that, because they shouldn't have to know the details. We should be able to trust our elected officials to handle the job, because we should be electing competent people who have our best interests in mind.

Californians voted irresponsibly. This created a political power vacuum, a leadership vacuum and an electrical power shortage. There is no shortage of finger pointers, but I seem to be the only one who is pointing at the true source of the problem.

>> You have resisted saying the one thing that the majority of California voters must understand to ensure that this most crucial of lessons has been learned. That the blame rests with the majority of California voters and that it is the responsibility of the California voters to hold their elected officials accountable for solving the problem. <<

Most of this goes without saying.

I don't think the voters understand it. I think it should be said until they do.

This isn't a game of Civilization, though, where one can through a huge amount of money at a project and have it built overnight. If it were so, I'd say the state should just buck up, build another 10,000 megawatts of supply today and let the elected officials take the heat for it.

But until more supply can be built, here and in other constrained areas such as the have a couple years or more of a disastrous effect on one-seventh of the national economy...and growing. The lack of supply and outages means a hit to the economy, and the whatever-the-market-will-bear prices spark inflation...well, if it's worth the risk of terrible stagflation, which can spread all over the place, to prove a philosophical point, whatever -- just make sure you buy lots of gold. I think any assistance received must come at a steep price. It isn't the price hikes which are so bad, it's the economic disruption of the outages -- and you know that will have a ripple effect on the rest of the national, and to some extent, the *world*, economy.

Yes, it sucks that a situation created by Utopian politicians, brought in by too many Utopian voters, will cause major problems in other states and the national economy as well. But there's no avoiding that. This isn't a mercantilist economy of 1787; it's a multi-national comglomerate-based economy more than two hundred years of economic evolution later. That's why I don't think the free market and nothing but the free market is an acceptable *short-term* solution, as much as I'll agree that it must be THE long-term solution. This is why I think that as long as suplliers are selling across state lines, there MUST be at least a little assistance in helping see that excess power be distributed where it's most needed in the short run. The price can be high -- heck, even very high -- but not quite "whatever the market will bear." This isn't some frivolous luxury item we're talking about here. But in exchange, the affected areas will HAVE to make some guarantees and concessions in the future. And there MUST be an exit strategy to this plan, so it doesn't become another one of those "temporary" government actions taken in hard times which became permanent long after any need for them was gone.

The solution that you seem to be advocating, that Bush step in and take over the management of this crisis in the presence of a leadership vacuum and the absense of a request to do so from the state's voters would be imho an overreaction. This is a crisis for the country at this point, not an emergency. If it is an emergency for California, then Gray Davis should use his emergency powers before it becomes a catastrophy for California and an emergency for the country. In my posts, I offered things that Bush could offer, steps that Gray Davis could take and steps that the voters could take to bump Gray Davis out of his comfort zone. In short, I offered temporary and long term solutions and all of them involved the proper placement of accountability for solving the problem.

And at least now you're saying the "majority" of voters. Before you didn't have that word "majority" in there, and as one voter among the 45% or so whose candidates rarely if ever win, I was really starting to resent the broad brush you have been painting with.

I could tell that you were taking it a little personally and I guess I can't fault you for that. As a professional problem solver I focus on the truth and the presentation of that truth and I know that I can be a little direct. The truth is that the majority of those who voted did so irresponsibly and share responsibility with those who failed to vote at all and who would have voted responsibly if they had. But maybe even those who voted responsibly could have done more to ensure that others voted responsibly. Perhaps I could have stayed there and preached while the walls crumbled around me and my net worth plummeted out from under me. Nah! I might tilt against windmills, but I draw the line well before p|ssing into a hurricane during an earthquake.

The free market IS the long-term solution. But the free market can't build more supply tomorrow. And the effects of letting them "suffer" completely for their mistakes is too damaging on everyone to allow.

But I did offer lots of short term solutions. I only advocated that the funding for those come from the source of the problem. Bush can move generating capacity into the state. I wasn't being facetious about nuclear subs and aircraft carriers and army generators. They might be a token drop in the electron bucket, but Bush is no more capable of creating portable generators out of thin air than SuperGray. Davis can purchase surplus capacity from surrounding states and compensate the ratepayers in those states for the inconvenience. How about a sliding scale of California funds to inspire power consumers in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Mexico to conserve? If I lived in Arizona and I received a check from Gray each month during this crisis and if that check increased based on the amount of capacity that the state of Arizona freed up for pumping the bilge water from the sinking aircraft carrier (PR of CA) while the divers patched the holes, you can bet that I would conserve and I would encourage my neighbors to conserve.

Decreasing power demand through conservation and boosting supply through installation of temporary generation capacity and routing of extension cords across state lines is the only way for California to quickly get out of this crisis. All California needs to do is open the checkbook and buy assistance from outside the state and this problem will be temporarily solved. Bush can grease the skids with eminent domain, but only if Gray foots the bill and compensates the "takees" for their losses and only if Gray has openly exhausted all avenues including public begging and bribes to other states for the right-of-ways. A few more offshore oil leases would help with the short term cash flow problems and a few more oil wells producing royalties from under state land will help with the long term cash flow problems.

This is clearly not purely a free market approach. I advocate California's use of emergency powers and federal assistance in the short term. I don't advocate a socialistic transfer of wealth. I don't advocate Bush riding in on a white horse to a hailstorm of stones and arrows. This isn't about political philosophy. This is about solving a problem at it's root so it won't have to be treated over and over and over again.

If I looked at this purely from a political point of view, then I think that Bush should not only stay away, but that he should actively intimidate Gray Davis into taking the fall. Bush can write California off for the '04 election. He didn't need it in '00 and he can consolidate his position in the rest of the country by keeping the federal checkbook closed and turning Gray Davis into a greasy spot on the freeway. It goes against his message of being a consensus builder, but I think the majority of US voters understand that you can't build consensus with a whiner like Davis.

I'm not saying that Bush should keep the federal checkbook closed, because a lender has to open his checkbook to provide a loan. All smart lenders check the credit of the borrowers and get some collateral and set up payment schedules and foreclose when the borrowers default. Nobody should expect Bush to be a stupid lender. No state should expect the taxpayers of the US to buy them out of their foolishness.

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.