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
You've made the case that the FERC should cap power
prices, that sensible analysis makes price caps not
only defensible but practically mandatory.

And you've made the two key (I think) points that this
isn't really so much a power crisis as it is a
financial crisis, and that if the President isn't
offering short-term help, then he isn't offering help,
period, because there is no real long-term problem.

However, FERC doesn't seem like it wants to do
anything about it, nor does it seem like a public
groundswell will force them (I find it astonishing
that the California Republicans are sacrificing the
vital interests of their state because of sheer
partisan hatred).

Therefore, the tough question, which
I've been dutifully looking for an answer to through
the vast wasteland of energy crisis coverage, is what
should California do assuming no significant help from
the Federal Government?

You've mentioned the idea of a buyer' cartel in one of
your columns, but that idea seems to have disappeared
in the ether. It could be there are no good answers,
but it is hard for me to believe that our leaders in
California are following optimal policies now, and I
think your analysis could a great boon.