What Happens in Detroit

The city of Detroit one day last week was over-consuming electricity on air conditioning on a hot day and a bulletin went out asking city citizens to voluntarily cut back their thermometers. The power consumption dropped meekly in response, so the governor-appointed emergency manager stepped in and had power cut power to half the city to illustrate to it what is meant by the phrase “cut back.”

Detroit is completely powerless to have a say in how their own city is managed, right down to electricity, because the Governor of Michigan was given the power by its gerrymandered State Legislature to unilaterally dissolve any local government that has gone bankrupt and replace it with an appointed manager of the sort local voters never would have supported. The issue here is the un-elected official, not the crumbling infrastructure.

Californians will remember the rolling blackouts of 2001. They were caused by far-away market managers manipulating supply to drive up Californian power prices, a situation made possible by deregulation. The prime architect of the scheme was a defunct out-of-state energy trading company called Enron, which was located in Houston, Texas.

In both cases a power supply crisis was caused by Republican legislation pushed by the Koch Brothers, a pair of politically-active trillionaires, and “legislative bill mills” such as ALEC, responsible for the recent legislation pushed or passed by Republican majorities at the state levels of several states such as “Mandatory Ultrasound,” “Personhood,” “Stand Your Ground,” “Voter ID” and “Emergency Manager.”

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