Planet Gore

California Schemin’

I received by random chance a link to the following 2005 story about prosecutions, arising from California’s most recent energy crisis, for scheming to create artificial scarcity and cause energy prices to skyrocket. Ahem.


Keep in mind how it was Enron — implicated in the story, and implicated also in the profiteering and shortages in the California debacle which ultimately was spurred by recklessly irresponsible and posturing policymakers — that created carbon dioxide cap-and-trade as a scheme to make it rich rich rich. Also recall our president’s admission — in California, coincidentally — of his plans for a cap-and-trade scheme to create artificial scarcity and what it would do to electricity prices. Now read this excerpt:

One piece of evidence the government is using against Reliant is a transcript of a conversation between one of the company’s traders and a power plant operator, in which the two men discuss shutting down some of Reliant’s power plants in California between June 20 and 22, 2000, to create an artificial shortage so the price of power would skyrocket.

Yes, yes. People pushing schemes to create artificial scarcity causing energy prices to necessarily skyrocket should be treated quite harshly. Right? My CEI colleagues Iain Murray and Marlo Lewis have commented on numerous occasions about how we used to prosecute the “robber barons” for cartelization and other scheming reminiscent of the cap-and-trade fiasco our president asks congress to impose on you.


There’s less a lesson in this than a reminder of the utter absurdity of what’s going on in Washington, as recklessly posturing policymakers seek to impose California’s anti-energy policy on the nation — can’t go look for it, lift it, move it, or burn it — ensuring that the lights will go out, but doing so in the most cynical, erstwhile criminal fashion. Maybe the Norwegians can think up a prize for this, too.

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