Teacher unions and Texas politicians are damaging, respectively, our schools and electric grid. On this week’s Liberty Cafe, we discuss why throwing money at public schools and the electric grid won’t solve the problems with either of them.
Transcribed by Otter.ai
Bill Peacock 0:05
Welcome to Liberty cafe, where pressure is on demand.
teacher unions destroying our public schools, Texas politicians destroying Texas’s electricity grid. All this and more on this week’s episode 98 of the Liberty cafe. I am Bill peacock. And I’m glad to have you here this week on the Liberty cafe. It’s always a blessing to have you with me, as it is a blessing also to be sponsored by Texas scorecard, this great group of men and women over there fighting for our liberty, and theirs. And I encourage you to go to Texas scorecard.com, listen to podcasts, read articles, and even contribute your own content, they would love to have you take part going over there. And also, if you are finding the Liberty Cafe through the Texas scorecard network, run on over to my website. Excellent thought that.net. I write a lot about faith, politics and culture over there, the intersection between all of those, and I hope you might enjoy it. So go on over there to excellent thought.net and see what you can find that you might be interested in. Alright, I want to do something a little bit different today. Just got a couple of news articles that I’d like to talk through just a little bit. And let us see what we can learn from these two articles. Actually, the first one isn’t an article at all. It’s a tweet from the Texas State Teachers Association, which is affiliated with the National Education Association. So they’re all unfortunately, all teacher unions are just not good. They’re not for good for our kids. They’re not good for budgets, they’re not good for liberty, because they have bound together for Well, I can’t, I guess the best way to put this is for evil purposes, they don’t believe. And that starts with the fact that they don’t believe that God should be in the classroom, I would suggest that probably a lot of them don’t believe in God at all. But whether they have faith or not, they don’t believe that our children in our schools should learn about God. Now we know all the arguments. Why people make that arguments. But if the answer to that is if God is the One True, true God, and He is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all of us in heaven on earth. And He is then everything that we do, including educate our children should teach about him. Now, of course, there are some people in public schools, and you don’t believe in Jesus Christ. And they object to that, well, that kind of gets back to the whole point that maybe we shouldn’t have public schools in the first place, because it’s an impossible job that we have set up in the situation. So in one sense, you can’t blame the NEA or any teachers unions for this mess, because it’s politicians who have set up our public schools, and gotten us to the place where we have this anti Christian agenda, and all public schools across the nation. But that’s not really what I came here today to talk about. I just wanted to talk a little bit about this tweet. So let me just read it to you. This one out on September 30. So just a few days ago from when I’m recording this. It says Greg Abbott is lying about his record on teacher pay. He only focused on public school finance after his slim margin of victory in 2018. Teachers continue to fall behind the rest of the nation and teacher pay and have less power buying power than they had in 2019. Well, the truth of the matter is that maybe probably a lot of what they’re saying here is true. I didn’t watch the debate between tablet and beta when I’m assuming or should we say Francis O’Rourke, but I’m assuming that’s what they’re talking about that Abbott was touting his record, about public education. And actually, he’s wrong in doing that. Because
you can’t pander to these teachers unions, no matter how much money you spend on them. You can’t win them over as we’ve seen here because both Abbott and Dan Patrick and the Texas Legislature legislature have gone on a spending spree over the last two legislative sessions starting in 2019. And then again, 2021, trying to placate These teachers, and the school administrators, and the schools, school boards and all those kinds of things. They’re trying to get these folks off their back. And I think if maybe they could spend enough money on these folks, they’ll just leave them alone. But as we see, in this tweet, that you just can’t do that they’re going to keep coming after, after these politician, Republican politicians and coming after them and coming after them, until they can get rid of them. Because what teacher unions and most public school educators, and superintendents and school board members all have in common is a is that they don’t have much in common with Republicans, or better yet conservatives and Christians. And so whatever. So called Republican conservative, my offer to them is still on, they were still anathema to the schools. So that’s a big lesson to learn from. And we can see that in the fact that what they wrote here is actually true. Because it was after not just Abbott Abbott, margin wasn’t too slim. He had probably the biggest margins of all the statewide elections in 2018. You got to remember that’s the midterm for the Trump election, Trump in the Trump administration, midterm elections, and it was a wave for the Democrats in a lot of ways. We won’t get into why it was away, but it wasn’t a lot of places. And they wiped out a bunch of Republican lawmakers and they made in Texas the margins that Republicans had typically earned in elections much more narrow. And Abbott’s wasn’t so bad, Dan, Patrick’s was less. And then Ken Paxton, I think had the very lesson he I think he by by two or three points, something like that. You also have to remember that I think that was one Baito or Francis first ran when he running for the US Senate against Ted Cruz and his margin was was better than than our Attorney General Ken Paxton, but not as good as some of these others. So actually, what happened was that Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick flipped on a lot of the stuff they had been saying about public education, particularly. Dan Patrick had been very pro school choice. He had a year or two before he had been on a panel at Texas Public Policy Foundation, my former employee, employer, and with the lieutenant governor from Nevada, who had they just done some really great stuff on school choice up there. And Dan Patrick was all in and he was still all in heading towards the 2019. Or mostly am heading towards the 2019 legislative session. But all of a sudden, those 2008 18 results came in November 2018. And Patrick flipped overnight comas. And why did he flip? Well, because he was scared. He was scared that Republicans were going to lose power wars. He’s a Republican, he wants to maintain power. He, you know, he had his office for the next four years, but he didn’t want to lose Republican majorities in the House and Texas senate. So I flipped overnight. Everything that even saying about school choice went out the window. Instead, he came out of the chutes in the 2018 legislative session, pushing for a $5 billion a year, teacher pay raise. That was his big that’s how he was going to solve the problem. Not a public education, but a buying off the school districts because he became convinced I believe that if he could placate teachers, and teachers unions and school districts, he could reach into and get suburban moms and keep them from going over to the Democratic side that that’s, I’m pretty sure that’s where he wound up on all this. So he thought through billions of dollars of your money and my money that teachers teacher pays $5 billion per i think it’s per biennium, so two and a half billion dollars per year. And
all our problems would be solid. If all of our problems being solved, meaning that we maintain a Republican majority, I’d suggest a course that we’ve had Republicans in charge totally in charge of Texas for almost 20 years now. 2003. They’ve had the house, they’ve had the Senate, they’ve had to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and the Comptroller and every other office, you can think of the Supreme Court. I think we could have done a lot got better over these 20 years than they have with Republicans in charge? I’d much prefer having conservatives in charge. But the basic point here is that it doesn’t work. It doesn’t solve our problems to throw billions of dollars at teachers unions. First of all, they won’t let up on a second of all, the real problem is the government throwing billions of dollars at stuff, and throwing billions of dollars at teachers doesn’t solve the problem. It makes it worse, because then somebody else comes along and wants the money and then the Republicans buy them off. Big business wants some money, we buy them off. So the bottom line here is that first of all, I think the bottom line would be, don’t pander to our leftist foes, it doesn’t help us. Second of all, if we really want to pursue liberty in this state, we have to stop spending money like we are. And that’s the other problem that’s been going on the last two years is the spinning has gone out of control. They’re hiding it with a bunch of the numbers and hope to be able to do something on that soon, but pandering and spending doesn’t bring liberty. Alright, the second thing I want to touch on here is an article with the with the new CEO. Per cut. Remember, we have a course we have the Texas electricity grid, and it’s all thing collapsed during winter storm Yuri year and a half ago or so something like that. And the CEO, of course, got fired, as did three PUC commissioners. And, and basically the whole ERCOT board are caught manages the grid for the state of Texas. It’s a quasi governmental entity. And so they changed everything. And then there’s now five PUC commissioners, Public Utility Commission of Texas, commissioners, they’ve all been reappointed by the bobbin, appointed by Governor Abbott. And then we’ve got a whole new board for are caught and no longer. It used to be made up of members of the industry, because they were the ones who were managing the industry, they knew the best how to do it. And that doesn’t mean they always did it, right. But at least they had the knowledge and expertise. Now we have this board of folks who may or may not know something about electricity, but they’re certainly not down in the, in the weeds. They’re basically political appointees now running ERCOT that shouldn’t make us excited about the future of the Texas electricity grid. And then finally, just recently, we have a new CEO of ERCOT, Pablo Vegas, now, he he’s new, he’s got a lot of experience, I think in this area. But the thing was, he’s a political appointee, too, in part because I don’t know all the details. But Greg Abbott, apparently, according to news reports, had to get in and get involved with the hiring of the new CEO when the board workout couldn’t make it happen, for whatever reason. So the whole system has been become politicized, which is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. markets work when the buyers and the sellers come together, and decide what market outcomes should be. This is the product we’re going to sell. This is the product we’re going to buy. This is the price we’re going to sell it for this is the price we’re going to buy it for. This is the quantity we’re going to offer, this is the quantity we’re going to buy. All those kinds of things
are worked out best when buyers and sellers expressing their preferences to each other through exchanging money for goods and services. But when you get regulators involved, and politicians and font, all of a sudden you have the the opinions of a few, in this case, maybe a few dozen, or a few 100 regulators replacing the opinions and desires of millions of Texas customers. And that works just as true in the energy market, as it does in the computer market and the automobile market and the insurance market. And the housing market wherever it is. When you have regulators come in, they’re basically replacing their opinions and ideas for those in the market itself, and things just aren’t going to work out well. So there’s this interview, and I think it was a Dallas Morning News with the CEO, Mr. Degas and and I just want to read one quote that was in this and and just comment on it. And let me read the question to them and then I’ll come On a recent Dallas Morning News, University of Texas Tyler Tyler poll found that only 14% of Texas have high confidence in the grid stability. Nearly half of Texans are not confident in its reliability. And 20 have zero confidence in the grid. How do you rebuild that trust? And here’s his answer. It is a really concerning set of facts to hear that feedback. Because what you want and expect for an electric grid is for people not to really have to think about it, because it’s always there. And it’s always reliable. And that, frankly, has been the goal of the utilities and electric grid operators. What I think we have to do is get back to that place where Texans don’t need to be thinking about this every day, we have to continue to execute in what ERCOT has been doing over the last 12 to 18 months has been executing, they’ve been improving the way that they operate the grid, so that they never come to a place where they have to ask somebody not to have power. That has been the way you build trust through steady, consistent execution. Well, and I know that this gentleman is very knowledgeable and smart about how to manage electricity grids. But I’d have to say that he’s not very knowledgeable about how markets actually work, and how they’re supposed to work. He probably knows how they work today in this era of excessive regulation, but but not really the how they should be working in a place where liberty is valued, more than more than anything else. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or property. Now in one one sense, he’s right, you know, we as consumers, would like to just most of us would like to just be able to go on and turn on the lights, the lights come on, the AC comes on the refrigerator keeps working. And that’s it, then we pay a bill. That is a reasonable, affordable bill. Mainly what we’re looking for here is affordability and reliability. Notice that the topic of affordability doesn’t come up here in this question, and it doesn’t come up anywhere in the interview that he gives. And that’s that’s a problem. Because really, he says here, what did he say that? That’s what he says that what are called has been doing over the last 1218 months has been executing, they’ve been improving the way that they operate the grid, so that they never have to come to a place where they have to have somebody not to power well. What they’ve really been doing along those lines, is throwing so much of your money and our money at this problem. They hope that that will start solve the problem. Yeah, I’m sure they’ve been doing some technical improvements and some systematic systems improvements to this. But really what they’ve been doing is throwing your money and more money at the problem problem thinking that will fix it. But I guaranteed that making electricity more expensive, won’t make the grid more reliable. In fact, like I said earlier,
when you substitute the opinion of a few 100, bureaucrats, dozens or hundreds of bureaucrats for the knowledge and opinions of millions of market participants, consumers, and generators, and transmission operators and those kinds of things, what you have is a tremendous information loss. Now these bureaucrats sit up here and they have all the studies done all those kinds of things. But that’s it just gathers a microscopic part of the information about what people want. And people express that through buying and selling in the marketplace. And so what you have automatically, in a heavily heavily regulated system, like we have here in ERCOT, is a less efficient market. And what ERCOT has been doing over the last 18 months as one, as I mentioned, throwing our money at the problem to using that money to more heavily regulate the system. So the system has actually becoming less efficient over the last 18 months and more expensive, a less efficient, more expensive electricity system is going to be less reliable. The reason they’re doing this, largely is because As they’re throwing all this money at it, and they’re banking more regulated, because there’s this problem underlying all this, and it’s, it’s the, the big pink elephant in the room, and it’s get this, it’s intervention in the market. What are caught in the PUC in the Texas legislature have been doing, really, for the last decade or so is increasing inter government intervention in the market, the primary part of that has been subsidies for renewable energy. Texas has been increasing subsidies for renewable energy. During that time, the federal government has been doing the same thing. And that the thing about renewable energy, when the wind isn’t shining, I’m sorry, when the sun isn’t shining, and the wind isn’t blowing, solar, and wind generation don’t work. And that creates all kinds of problems. And yes, you can throw a lot of money at the system. You can put batteries in you can get backup generation heard, you know, last session, Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s company offered to build $8 billion worth of,
of new generation and then sell it to us and make us pay for it? Well, you know, you can do those kinds of things. But it costs a lot of money. And it still doesn’t fix the underlying problem, which is the unreliability of wind and solar. So rather than take that on, they’re throwing money and regulations at the market. And there’s other places they’re intervening to, because guess what happens when you have an unreliable market, we’re when energy is pushing electricity prices down at the wrong times, which is causing a lack of profits and the generators who would normally be helping us out by building new natural gas generation, which is reliable. What happens will the natural gas generators go broke, they don’t build. And then they start clamoring for subsidies. So now are caught is pushing subsidies towards not just renewable generation, but traditional generation as well. And numbers, I’ve seen that that’s going to be about $2 billion this year, which is right on par with the amount of money that renewable generation is getting as well. So all in all between, just say you’re gonna stay to Texas, not even including the Federal Government, estimate that over $4 billion of costs have been added to our electricity bills, or property tax bills by regulators at the PUC, the governor, less lieutenant governor, and the Texas Legislature that’s just this year alone. It just is getting worse and worse and worse. So you don’t rebuild trust through steady consistent execution f. That steady consistent execution is ignoring the underlying problem. And it’s in fact exacerbating the problem by intervening more in a market where the problem with the market in the first place was caused by more intervention. All right, well, that’s this week’s Liberty cafe, Episode 98. I’m really glad that you are with me here today. And I’m also glad to be part of the Texas scorecard network. So go on over to Texas scorecard.com. See what they have offered over there for you and also visit my website. Excellent. plot.net.