My Left Wing :: With Democratic Support, Bush Agenda Moves Forward
Over-looked in the billion (trillion) dollar giveaway that was the Energy Bill is this little gem- will the dire predictions of deregulation come true? Based on the unsurpassed greed of the last few years, my guess is yes. For better understanding of PUHCA, the acronym that no one is talking about, go here.
"Tonight we're going to party like it's 1929..."
One would never know George Bush's poll numbers were in record lows. Usually such unimpeded legislative victories are reserved for popular presidents.
But today, the president won a historic victory for Mr Cheney's long sought energy bill. A bill that will do more to change the US economic landscape than any in generations. The relatively mild deregulations that brought Enron to California in the 1990s pale in comparison. This bill is set to take Enronization nation wide.
What FDR's New Deal, Public Utility Holding Company Act did seventy years ago was prevent large corporations from gaming our national energy supply. As a natural monopoly with a "captive" consumer base, it was recognized that the energy market was prime for exploitation. That our very survival, economically and physically, required reliable, stable, and affordable energy. And that allowing energy to be traded as just another commodity was a severe threat to our very way of life.
This was not just because of the captive monopoly factor, but because energy is not just another commodity. It is the singular driver of the production of all other commodities. Without energy, we produce nothing.
So today marks the passing of an era. We now go from almost a century of stable energy prices based on a healthy blend of market forces and strong consumer protections, localized and accountable oversight of utility companies, and a general, personal and economic security in always knowing where your next kilowatt is coming from, to a veritable free market wild west. The Thatcherization that has destroyed so many economies in the Third World has now begun full scale here.
Today also marks the moment in history when it may be said that the decrepit, corporate decay that has plagued the Democratic party for the last two decades became terminal. And as a lifelong, multi-generational Democrat, I don't say that lightly.
Of course, hardly anyone will know it. As with the last time I wrote on this subject, I Google News-ed the Public Utility Holding Company Act or PUHCA and only a handful of newspapers in the world have mentioned it in the last day. And then, with most, only in passing.
This despite the fact that the repeal of PUHCA is by far the most critical piece of this most corrupt and cynical legislation. As Kelpie Wilson points out, a "trillion dollars worth of utility assets are about to be deregulated and no one knows about it."
No one knows about it? Pretty much. Aside from the veritable press blackout on the issue, there have been few mentions in the blogosphere either. Other than Meteor Blades' post which was frontpaged by Armando (thanks Armando) the energy bill has almost been ignored. Or perhaps drowned out by the almost Michael Jackson-esque obsession with Rove-gate.
Here is the original diary by the fantastic Meteor Blades at Kos.
Bigger, smarter minds than mine can dissect all of this- but on the surface this seems to be a big, bad deal. And no one is talking about it.
Well, when your electricity bill is $300 a month, remember these Democrats-
Here are the Senate Democrats who voted for Big Money, Big Energy and against you.
Sadly I note that Levin and Stabenow are on the list. One can only guess at their reasons why, perhaps because the bill does not raise fuel efficiency standards (a bow to our lazy auto makers) or perhaps because it bans drilling in the Great Lakes. (OK, banning drilling in the Great Lakes is an extremely good thing in my book. But did we have to give away the farm?)
Mark this day, kids. As Han Solo would say, "I've got a bad feeling about this...."