Friday, June 01, 2007

It's pretty much a given that liberals don't care much for deregulation. So it comes as no surprise to see liberal Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein writing that deregulating electricity prices has been a big bust.

And in typical fashion, he ignores a whole lot of evidence that contradicts his liberal talking points.

He claims that Maryland pays more for electricity than in Virginia, where deregulation hasn't progressed as far as it has in Maryland. Yet, while he acknowledges that Virginia customers are reaping the benefit of having more coal and nuclear power plans than Maryland, he glosses over this significant fact in order to return to his liberal anti-deregulation talking points.

He claims that California's deregulation of energy markets a few years back led to the problems they had. Sure, there were problems, but they were attributable not to too much deregulation, but to too little deregulation, as utility companies were required to "buy all their power on the day-ahead spot market". Were it not for that 'regulation', utility companies would have been better able to insulate themselves from day-to-day price hikes.

None of this matters to Pearlstein. While he claims he's concerned for poor customers suffering as greedy companies gouge the public, my bet is he's more upset that deregulation - whether it be of airlines or energy markets - takes away one of the tools big government types use to control as much as the economy as possible.