What happened in Texas last month was a disaster of epic proportions, but it was no accident. After a freak snowstorm, too many Texans went without power for days and weeks – with a few even freezing to death – as a direct result of decades of deregulation brokered by energy companies, money-hungry corporations, and trickle-down Texas politicians.
Enabled by Fox News, trickle-downers like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attempted to blame the deadly power failure on renewable energy sources and the Green New Deal – an utterly absurd idea, considering this policy has not even been adopted. In reality, the natural gas companies that make up most of the Texas power grid were simply not prepared for the extreme low temperatures that the state experienced. In short, it was the good, old-fashioned way of doing it that utterly failed under the strain of the entire state experiencing the catastrophic impacts of climate change.
The reason they were so woefully unprepared goes back to the 1990s, when Enron CEO Ken Lay, trickle-down-Gov. George Bush, power companies, and state lawmakers ended the government regulation that had stabilized electricity prices and distribution since the 1920s. By deregulating energy companies, trickle-downers opened the floodgates of profits for a wealthy few shareholders and CEOs, and it could only end how all trickle-down policies end: failure. This gave power companies completely unregulated control over the construction and maintenance of power plants and introduced predatory pricing mechanisms that take advantage of everyday Americans.
That’s just the beginning, because without that regulation, the power companies did what any money-hungry corporation would do: They prioritized their own short-term profits over long-term investments that could have strengthened the grid, prepared it for extreme temperatures, and prevented last month’s deadly failure. To make matters worse, after failing millions of Texans, energy companies still stand to profit from this deadly crisis, with energy prices for those whose power stayed on through the storm skyrocketing astronomically – and no sign of relief from the Texas state government in sight.
This entirely avoidable man-made disaster in Texas is just one extreme example of the way deregulation and lack of corporate oversight hurt everyday Americans all the time. And like virtually all disasters in our country, its impact is being felt the most in low-income areas and communities of color.
The sad truth is that we live in a country that has repeatedly put the wants of its wealthiest people before the needs of its poorest. And it must stop now. That’s why we’re here – to call out the greedy corporations and the politicians who have empowered and enriched themselves for too long, at the expense of everyone else.
We’re ready to hold our legislators accountable now and every single time they fail the American people, and we’re ready to fight for the necessary regulations that could have prevented the tragedy in Texas. But we need to know that grassroots activists like you are with us. So please, before midnight, we need 1,000 activists to answer our urgent poll:
Do you believe deregulation hurts the American people?