hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Friday, June 14, 2002
I don't know if you've read a decidedly mediocre novel
by Aurthur Haley called "Overload", that predicted an
energy crisis in California because naive
environmentalists with political clout kept preventing
necessary power plants from being built. The same book
also predicted a return to the gold standard, but hey,
that is neither here nor there.

In any case, the talking points from conservatives now
is that the power crisis is not the fault of the
utilities, or indeed profit-seeking businessmen
anywhere, but is the fault of all those eco-freaks
from California who prevent plants from being built
and who pass other needlessly strict pollution and
fuel standards. You've written two columns about the
energy crisis, but haven't addressed this argument.
How much truth is there to it?

Also, you wrote that the assets the utilities were
forced to sell to power generation companies fetched
much more than expected. Shouldn't the utilities be
dipping into this windfall sales money instead of
asking for a huge rate-increase bailout?

No need to answer me personally. A future column or a
note on your website will be fine. I just want these
questions addressed, and it seems like your column is
one of the few places where questions like this get
answered. For eexample, I really iked your column, a
fairly long time ago, explaining the cause of the gas
price hike in the midwest.