Ever wonder why our federal government is so eager to break up a non-monopoly like Microsoft, but is jogging through molasses when it comes to deregulating the power companies?
Microsoft has plenty of competition. Traditionally, the utilities have had no competition, government protected them. Now 26 states have introduced utility deregulation. There have been efforts in Congress, too. But such efforts have stalled. Why? Well, the utilities proved savvier than Microsoft when it came to lobbying the men in DC with the power-red ties. The utility industry has spent millions to bottle up legislation in Congress. They set up phony front organizations to hide their involvement. One is Citizens for State Power, which has ties to conservatives and a right-wing tilt; the other is the Utility Shareholders Alliance, which has ties to an electrical union and a left-wing tilt.
When the lobbyists needed to sway a conservative crowd, they used the one organization; when they needed to manipulate liberals, they used the other. No real ideology. No principles. Just a lot of pragmatic politics to save a rust-encrusted status quo. Who pays the price? You and me, in higher energy costs. Let’s deregulate two monopolies: The power companies AND the iron triangle of politicians, special interest groups and lobbyists polluting our civic life. Time to give the electric companies a jolt of competition. Time to give the AC-DC power establishment in Washington another kind of jolt: term limits.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.