Received some direct and e-mailed criticism of my classifying the failure to pass the energy bill as "naughty." The criticism went something like this: "how can you defend that pork-laden, ethanol-mandating, special interest tax giveaway monstrosity called the Energy Bill?"
Put that way, it's sure not easy. Next, my essay praising the Alien and Sedition Acts....!
The Energy bill, though a painful orgy of rentseeking, would at least have brought some certainty through the electricity title. Most agree that the incentives for transmission investment are inadequate and further that the nation's transmission system is inadequate. The electricity title, on the margin, would have brought certainty and made investment in transmission more attractive. Likewise, forestalling FERC's standard market design would have allowed a rough armistice to take place between the various regulatory and industry interests. Whether these benefits would have been worth the rest of the Energy bill, I cannot say for sure, but here is my modest defense of why its failure to pass was indeed "naughty."