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O’Malleynomics

Governor O’Malley is going to release an energy plan as part of his legislative package, and once again it is going to be a case study in O’Malleynomics: spending lots of money to save less money;

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s energy administration will release sweeping legislative and policy recommendations today that include new power-conservation laws, an estimated $100 million fund for environment-friendly initiatives and an emphasis on consumer responsibility for electricity consumption.

O’Malley, a Democrat who campaigned on the unfulfilled promise of undoing a 72 percent electricity rate increase for 1.2 million Baltimore Gas & Electric customers, appears likely to pursue an agenda in Annapolis that could further increase consumer costs in the short term. But administration officials say the proposals are needed to ensure long-term sustainability of Maryland’s faltering power network and forestall the threat of blackouts as early as 2011.

Well, isn’t that special? The Governor who railed against higher energy rates during his election campaign is going to propose legislation to….hike energy rates.

Of course, once again, the plan revolves around the idea not of generating new power sources, or making the business climate more appealing to energy companies, but tries to restrict the availability of power to consumers through forcible reductions in power usage and higher energy costs.

But just think about it for a second; passing tax credits to encourage the use of more efficient appliances. Carbon credit trading (even with the coming Federal Trade Commission investigation), with costs passed onto the consumer at the expense of more government revenues? New power-conservation laws? Does anybody for a second think that this is going to save power, reduce pollution, or do anything other than drive up the cost of living once again for Maryland’s working and middle class families?

Of course, O’Malley’s plan looks sensible compared to this lunacy:

Sean Dobson, the executive director of left-leaning Progressive Maryland, said lawmakers should give O’Malley’s plan a chance to work.

“But if it turns out to be insufficient,” he said, “the state should construct, own and operate its own ultra-efficient, clean-energy power plants and force utilities to pass along this electricity to consumers at a regulated, affordable rate.”

I’m just glad that Dobson, in his role as head of Progressive Maryland, finally admits that Progressive Maryland is out to stick it to Maryland’s working and middle class families.

The story in the Post has this gem:

Malcolm Woolf, the state’s energy administrator, said that “we have ignored energy issues in the state” since the General Assembly agreed in 1999 to bring competition into the electricity market. He called the strategic plan an “opening salvo in a larger effort to take control of Maryland’s energy’s future.”

He’s right to a point; O’Malley did ignore the rate hikes he promised to stop and allowed the costs to be passed onto the consumer. But there are a couple of just odd statements in here (including the fact that competition was ever truly brought to the energy market). Can somebody explain to me what ” larger effort to take control of Maryland’s energy’s future” entails? What does that mean? Are we talking about Dobson’s Soviet style proposal? More regulation? Power cutoffs like they use to have in Romania? What other harebrained ideas could the administration possibly have up their sleeves as it relates to electricity?

O’Malley’s energy plan is just another block in the giant game of Jenga known as O’Malleynomics. Using government in whatever means necessary in order to raise taxes, raise fees, and grow the size of government at the expense of Maryland’s working and middle class families. while attempting to further control their behavior. If O’Malley was truly serious about reducing power consumption and improving the environment, there are alternative methods that produce greater long-term stability than carbon trading and by artificially inflating the price of power. And yes, that does mean unclogging the pipeline to allow for the construction of wind farms in Western Maryland, and the consideration of the construction of new nuclear power facilities.

Once again, O’Malley is putting politics ahead of people, and THAT friends may be the true keystone of O’Malleynomics.

(Crossposted)






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