Today, Congressional Democrats on the party’s fringe ideologically unveiled this platform, which seeks to rid the U.S. or fossil fuel power in a decade. Deemed necessary because of alleged catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, it would achieve the hard left’s aim of massive centralized government power over the economy and people’s lives, a brief outline of the program demonstrates. It would cost at least $7 trillion just to get there, not even minding the extravagant extra expense borne annually to supply entirely renewable energy.
But a microcosm of the movement’s ideology that government must rein in free enterprise to achieve this agenda surfaced last week un the New Orleans City Council chambers. There, councilors debated reconsideration of last year’s vote to authorize Entergy New Orleans to build a 128 megawatt gas generator. At the present time, the city must import practically all its power, leaving it vulnerable to shortages and bereft of power in weather emergencies.
Afterwards, opponents who wanted the request turned down in favor of Entergy spending on renewable sources filed a frivolous lawsuit. It demanded that the Council reconsider the vote because it hadn’t been swayed by their evidence. Naturally, they dismissed the possibility that they had lost after a thorough vetting by the Council and its long-tenured advisers (since, of course, the advisers, it alleged, were “biased”) because their idea was inferior.
Under no legal obligation to reverse itself or reconsider, the Council ignored the demand and Entergy began the construction process. Then, months after the Council approved, the world learned that Entergy contractors had paid individuals to demonstrate support during council meetings. This prompted the Council to sanction the company and also led some of its members to voice a desire to revisit the vote.
However, changing the decision doesn’t seem feasible. Legally authorized to pursue the project, through the end of the year Entergy spent $96 million that by law now ratepayers would have to finance. If the Council reversed itself, that would become an irretrievable sunk cost making any other solution that much more expensive.
This has dimmed enthusiasm to redo the vote. And it sent the opposition into apoplexy, as its members all too well understand their suit ultimately has no chance of succeeding (another part of the suit claims violation of open meeting laws because supporters could not enter council chambers during discussions of the matter, but that happened because the room was at capacity, which might have been influenced by the number of pro-Entergy paid supporters).
Yet the actual merits of the suit only provide a surface reason for its existence. Its real reason came out when opponents began to discern, after a couple of Council meetings (including today, when the matter was deferred, yet again, to Feb. 21), that the body wouldn’t act to revoke its decision in part because of the sunk costs. Calling those expenditures “reckless,” opponents said ratepayers shouldn’t be on the hook for these.
Understand the mentality at work here. In essence, opponents – who represent a small minority of the public and who cannot get candidates who support their agenda to win elections – argue they have a veto power over public policy in this area. They assert that if they file a legal action, regardless how farfetched, against the action of a democratic body that authorizes regulated expenditures, that the contractor so authorized can’t spend any of it until they are satisfied or they exhaust legal appeals, which could take years.
Meanwhile, the power crisis continues, the company hangs in the wind knowing that it could lose a fortune by proceeding, and democracy suffers subversion. Adopting this view would discourage any power firm from wanting to do business with the city unless it kowtowed to extortionist opponents that brook no other solutions than impractical and needlessly expensive renewables.
And that’s their goal. They carry out this intolerant impulse that dictates only their policies no matter the expense to others (worse, all built on a myth, of CAGW), who see businesses like Entergy as a fatted calf waiting for slaughter. The plaintiffs in this case share that very same ideology with those behind the Green New Deal.
It’s a destructive ideology alien to American political culture and contrary to democratic norms. But one, as witnessed both in New Orleans and Washington, apparently breaking out from the fringes of politics.