Random 365 #7 and the politics of deregulation

Electric Fence

Originally uploaded by fcapria

With a rare October nor’easter bearing down on us, and threatening widespread power outages, I thought this image appropriate for tonight’s Random 365. The lights have been flickering and parts of town are already without power.

While utilities blame freakish weather patterns for the deterioration of service the past few years, it’s not likely. The culprit is deregulation. Utilities are cutting back on maintenance to improve short term margins and regulators no longer have the necessary tools to force more responsible behavior. Perhaps it’s time the regulatory pendulum swings the other way. We deregulated airlines, and flying is just a miserable experience. We deregulated banks, and we have the mother of all recessions to show for it. Does anyone really think deregulating core infrastructure is a good idea? What pennies we might eventually save each month comes at the cost of Soviet-level quality of service.

One Thought on “Random 365 #7 and the politics of deregulation

  1. Terence Curren on October 30, 2011 at 12:00 am said:

    Hmmm. When I was a kid, flying somewhere was a rare treat for any but the very well off. Now it is not that much more than a bus ride. The fact that the average American can catch a deal to fly to Europe for a few hundred dollars is mind boggling in the historical sense. Is ti comfortable? not always. Does it beat weeks in the stinky hull of a freighter? yes.

    The problem here is the term “regulation” vs. law. A law is supposed to be written by someone I can vote out of office if his (or her) laws suck. That is what this country was founded on. A “regulation” on the other hand is something any bureaucrat (who I can’t vote out of office) decides to impose on me and I have no recompense against it.

    Should bankers be allowed to steal? No, that’s illegal. Should a small businessman be driven out of business by inane regulations written by miscreants trying to justify their payrolls? No.

    Slippery slope and a definite balance needed. But don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

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