How Democrats Cover Up

The state of Maryland has a little problem on its hands. In July customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E) can expect a 72% rate hike. The first thing that politicians did was jump in and make accusations, deny knowledge, blame the Governor, and use extortion on the electric company. Now I know there are many out there who would say way to go, stop that company from screwing the people but in reality it is the company and the people who are getting screwed by the politicians. The Democrats in Maryland caused this problem.

Before I get into the meat of this, Maryland is a heavily Democratic state. The Democrats outnumber Republicans about 2 to 1. Democrats have controlled the Legislative bodies for eons and until Bob Ehrlich was elected four years ago it had been 30 or so years since a Republican occupied the State House. Sometime during the last Governor’s term the legislative body thought it would be a good idea to deregulate the power company. The deregulation would take effect in July of 2006 and until that time the company had to have its rates capped. Marylanders who are serviced by BG&E have been paying less than the market rate since that action occurred. The competition that was supposed to take place never did and we still have the same company providing our power. Now that the caps are being removed the rates will rise to the current prices and that means about a 72% increase. Had the caps not been in place the rates would have gradually risen and people would have adjusted over time.

So what is a politician to do, especially in an election year. Many of the folks running were the ones who put this in place, even though they did not read the damned thing. If you are the Mayor of Baltimore and you happen to be running for Governor, you blame the Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich. The only problem with that is Bob Ehrlich was in the US Congress at the time and had nothing to do with it. This same Mayor could then blame the head of the Public Service Commission though no one on the PSC was there when this took place. As a matter of fact, the Mayor’s brother-in-law sat on the Public Service Commission that put this in place, but Mayor O’Malley has never let the truth get in his way so why start now? The Mayor was even upset that the current head of the PSC has communicated with executives and lobbyists from the power company. It is, of course, this guy’s job to communicate with these people to see what is going on and make sure that the citizen’s interests are protected.

If you are the Senate President Mike Miller or the Speaker of the House Michael Busch then you act like this is a complete surprise and vow to protect the citizens of Maryland from this travesty. You also conveniently forget to mention that you had a lot to do with the legislation being passed in the first place. You then spend time blaming the Governor and the PSC for your own poor leadership. You then criticize the power company for wanting to charge market prices after years of being paid less than market value for electricity. Stevie Wonder could see this coming and the politicians have been warned for over a year that it was going to happen. Politicians who say that they were unaware are liars, and that is the plain and simple truth of the matter.

“’It’s something that must happen,’ state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Prince George’s) said of the state’s push to get a deregulation bill through during the legislative session this winter.” – The Baltimore Sun, February 3, 1999

“Prices will go down, no ifs, ands or buts.” – President Miller, The Baltimore Sun, December 3, 1997

“Senate President Miller said one of his primary concerns for the General Assembly session is making way for rapid electric deregulation.” – The Baltimore Sun, January 13, 1998

“Why would Mr. Miller, no expert on deregulation, do such a thing? Could it have to do with the fact that some very powerful lobbyists, including one of his best friends, are strenuously pressing for quick entry into the electricity market?” – The Baltimore Sun, April 5, 1998

If you are the Maryland Democratic Party you can air a lie filled commercial telling everyone that this is Bob Ehrlich’s rate hike even though all your Democratic buddies caused it. Your web site can have a big banner that reads “Help stop the Ehrlich Electric Rate Hike” and you can get true idiots to donate money so you can continue playing the commercial despite the fact is does not have an ounce of truth in it.

Then, if you are all politicians as a group, you realize that it is an election year and you work on a way to postpone screwing the citizens until after the election. You do this by realizing that the power company’s parent company is going to merger with a Florida based electric company and you threaten to stop the merger if the company does not agree to more price caps. In other words, you back out of the deal you made with the power company. That deal that said if you have caps until 2006 you will then be deregulated. Now, of course you just apply political might and use some extortion to force regulation back on a company you deregulated in the first place. Hell, it is an election year and we need to make it look like we care.

The problem is, your request is to phase the rate hike in (as should have happened all along) so that consumers think they are being taken care of. You broker a deal that will expire at the end of the year, well after election day and you hope no one will notice. The unfortunate truth is that there are far too many stupid people out there to even grasp what is happening. When election time rolls around they will be happy with their leaders and reelect them. Then in January when they get hammered with high electric bills they will piss and moan once again.

If you are the electric company you realize that the same politicians you have donated to are screwing you. I would not be surprised if BG&E decides not to give money to any campaigns this year. I certainly would not. I also think that Maryland will experience rolling blackouts this Summer. The high demand coupled with under market prices will make it difficult for the electric company to purchase electricity. If I were they, the politicians would be the first to do without power.

Electricity blackouts like the ones that hit California five years ago could come to Maryland if lawmakers try to stave off price hikes for power suppliers, industry officials warned the legislature Tuesday as state politicians look for ways to soften the blow of higher power bills. (Source 3)

I do not blame BG&E. They kept their word and charged under market prices for the last 6 or 8 years. They are now trying to get back to where they should be and where they would have been without the caps they agreed to. I blame the Democrats for this one. They were in the pockets of special interest groups and they pushed this through without even reading it. I heard it was introduced and voted on in a few short hours. Not the way things are supposed to work. O’Malley’s Brother-in-law, Busch, Miller, and all the other Democrats who voted for this should face the consequences on election day when Marylanders replace them with people who have not made it a career to screw the public.

Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening because Maryland voters would vote for a biting pit bull with AIDS so long as it had a D after its name. You get what you ask for and if you vote these guys back in you deserve what you get. Rate hikes are coming either now or next year so people had better check their budgets now.

Political leaders throughout Maryland were quick to protest. Several predicted action in the General Assembly to reduce the new rates. One bill seeks to require that the rates be phased in, and other legislation would reimpose rate caps.

“We’re trying to apply pressure and tell the power companies if they can’t do more for us, especially in an election year, that we’re going to have to legislate more aggressively,” said Del. Herman L. Taylor II (D-Montgomery). [emphasis added] (Source 2)

Need I say more?

Source 1: WBAL
Source 2: Washington Post
Source 3: WJZ.com

[tag]Baltimore Gas and Electric[/tag] [tag]Mike Miller[/tag] [tag]Michael Busch[/tag] [tag]Robert Ehrlich[/tag] [tag]Electric rate increases[/tag] [tag]Democrats [/tag][tag]Republicans[/tag] [tag]WBAL[/tag] [tag]WJZ[/tag] [tag]Washington Post[/tag]



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