I’ve concluded that Republican politicians secretly despise their voters. The main problem with American politics is Democrats expect their voters to be intelligent, while Republicans count on the voters to remain stupid.
And you can see this dichotomy in the recent energy disaster in Texas. A recent snowstorm left many without power, the situation quickly spiraled into chaos with many people freezing to death in their homes. And to compound that problem, some survivors were hit with five-figure energy bills.
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But how did the state leadership deal with this issue? By making up lies about the Green New Deal, which hasn’t been implemented. In the eyes of Texas political leaders, the average local voter was so stupid, they could be conned into believing lies about the Green New Deal and faulty windmills instead of addressing the real issue that caused the energy debacle — deregulation. According to a Reuters article, Texas receives only 20 percent of its energy from wind. Most of Texas is powered by fossil fuels.
“Wind generates 20% of total electricity in Texas, where natural gas supplies 47.4%, coal supplies 20.3% and solar supplies 1.1% (here.)” said Reuters.
The new, big lie
In the early days of the disaster, Texas governor Greg Abbott went on Fox News, the nation’s premier source of disinformation, to promote the new, big lie.
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“This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” said Abbott on Sean Hannity’s show. “Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. … It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.”
But former Texas governor Rick Perry topped that with something even stupider by claiming Texans were willing to freeze to keep “the federal government out of their lives.”
During an emergency, the last thing you expect from your governor is to go on a right-wing propaganda network and spread falsehoods. You expect him to show leadership and act like he cares about his constituents. But if that wasn’t bad enough, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) conducted a master class on what not to do in the middle of a natural disaster. His trip to Cancun, Mexico will go down as one of the great PR disasters in history.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) conducted a master class on what not to do in the middle of a natural disaster.
Disaster capitalism Texas-style
However, Texas politicians have studiously avoided dealing with the root problem behind the energy disaster. The Texas energy crisis was a human-made problem. The state was not connected to the main American grid, so it couldn’t rely on energy from other states when it was faced with too much demand. Texas did this because they wanted to remain independent from the national grid because the Lone Star state likes to do things its own way.
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The sky-high energy bills are also a uniquely Texan issue. For several years, the state has deregulated the energy industry which means a hands-off attitude and no pesky laws protecting consumers. Also, several customers signed up for flexible rate energy prices. This situation means that energy prices can fluctuate according to market forces. And that’s how you get four and five-figure energy bills — in the middle of a snowstorm!
However, energy companies are celebrating that they can gouge customers in a crisis. Roland Burns, president and chief financial officer of Comstock Resource, Inc., an oil and gas producer, was practically orgasmic at higher natural gas prices, according to NPR.
“This week is like hitting the jackpot,” said Burns in an earning call.
It’s incidents like this that make working-class people want to eat the rich.
Socialism to the rescue — again
However, the Texas energy debacle speaks of a bigger problem in the Lone Star state. Texas politicians are more concerned about propaganda and supporting unregulated capitalism than governing. Much like Republican politicians around the country, Texas politicians have scared voters with buzzwords such as “big government” and “socialism.”
They sold Texas voters on their shady energy scheme claiming independence and unrestrained capitalism would be their salvation. Both of those issues created more problems. And the big, bad federal government is forced to come in and rescue capitalism again.
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As in many times in American history, socialism saved American capitalism from itself. This happened during the bank bailout of the 2000s, during the auto bailouts, and during the early years of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration when the government had to rescue the stock market. President Joe Biden also sent generators and blankets to the Lone Star state.
And to rub salt into the wound, democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) raised more than $4 million for struggling Texans, while local resident Cruz jetted off to Cancun. As I’ve said many times before, everyone’s a socialist in a crisis.