Chaos

CHAOS!….Dan Drezner thinks the world press is a bit too eager to shout “Chaos!” while describing the east coast blackout. I dunno, though. Here’s Drudge’s front page at the moment, and he’s as American as apple pie.

(I might add that, for the British press at least, headlines tend to be a little overwrought anyway regardless of subject matter. “Rage over [insert subject here]” is a pretty common headline, for example, and usually turns out to mean that a couple of schoolteachers in Milton Keynes are circulating a petition to keep Wal-Mart from opening up a store in the area.)

In a slightly more serious vein, President Bush was here in the land of rolling blackouts today ? in fact, he had lunch at a Hyatt a couple of miles from my house, complete with ANSWER protesters and everything ? and had this to say at one of his stops:

“I view it as a wake-up call,” Bush told reporters during a visit to the Santa Monica mountains, adding that the massive blackout was “an indication we need to modernize the electricity grid.”

….The industry needs about $50 billion to $100 billion in new investment, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry funded group in Palo Alto, California.

Meanwhile, Nora Brownell, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said, “It’s very clear this is not about deregulation. It’s about investing in the transmission system.”

I’m certainly curious to see what Bush comes up with. After all, the east coast had a big blackout in 1965, and another one in 1977, both under intervention-happy Democratic administrations, and I don’t recall the federal government stepping in to help the utilities upgrade their grid. And of course, here in California we had a spot of trouble recently over electricity and George Bush was rather famously unsympathetic to our plight.

You don’t suppose that Bush would agree to interfere in the operation of the free market by funding a multi-billion dollar bailout for his pals in the power business, do you? All in the name of national security, of course.

Nah, couldn’t happen.

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