Electric Shock

Just a few years ago, President George W. Bush’s cronies at Enron stole billions of dollars from average Americans by gaming the energy markets. In Washington State, for instance, the company raked in almost $2 billion through illegal profiteering. Enron traders were caught on tape laughing about being “in the mood to screw with people” and “want[ing] to see what pain and heartache this is going to cause.”

But apparently for the Bush administration, consumers didn’t get fleeced enough. In his 2006 budget, the president is pushing to raise electricity rates in many of the same regions that were bilked by his friends at Enron. Specifically, Bush is pushing to make the Bonneville Power Administration (a network of publicly-owned dams and power plants) raise its electricity rates in order to help cover his tax-cut-induced deficits. It is a classic example of how Bush wants to rob average Americans (aka. electricity ratepayers) to finance his plans to pay off the rich.

Don’t believe me? Then believe some of Bush’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill, who are apalled at the brazen effort to bilk consumers. For instance, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) said, “if this plan is implemented, it would cost the Northwest hundreds of millions and possibly billions of dollars” and promised that “I am going to exhaust every right and privilege I have, as a Senator, to kill this proposal.”

I don’t expect Bush to back off on this proposal — remember, money talks in Washington.