On GQ’s blog, there’s an interesting interview with two acclaimed sports writers, about the Bowl Championship Series. As millions of Americans know well, the BCS is the complicated system that chooses a national champion in the billion dollar college football industry. There are more than 100 schools vying for the crystal football awarded to the BCS champion, so it’s not surprising that every year, more than 100 schools are dissatisfied with a system didn’t crown them #1. That is, the BCS is universally reviled.
So we all know and hate the BCS, yet even college football enthusiasts like me don’t know how it works. Somewhat paradoxically, this might be the very reason it persists, according to these two sports reporters,
GQ: What was the thing your reporting that surprised you the most or caught you off guard?
2 Sports Reporters: How little even the people in college sports know how this [BCS] works. It’s less of a conspiracy as much as it’s people just too uninterested or incapable of figuring out what the real deal is.
No one likes the BCS, but it fumbles on, because it’s too arcane to be bothered with. I think this dynamic is represented well by Kaiser Soce’s famous admission in the Usual Suspects that the devil’s best trick is to make people think he doesn’t exist.
Something very similar is going on with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s New Energy Economy. Coloradans don’t like energy taxes—especially ones they didn’t vote for—but they can’t be unhappy when they are oblivious. After all, ignorance is bliss. Undoubtedly, Ritter’s energy policies will make energy more expensive (see here and here and here), yet it is achieved primarily through the impossibly convoluted procedures of the regulatory state with which virtually no one is familiar. As a result, Ritter’s anti-energy policies proceed apace.
Here’s an ultra-brief rundown of just a few of Ritter’s most insidious energy policies
- In 2007-2008, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) changed the rules so that its lodestar changed from lowest-cost electricity to protecting the climate
- The PUC interpreted the legislature’s 2% rate cap for 2010 HB 1001, a renewable energy production quota, to mean “incremental” costs instead of “total” costs; as such, the rate cap became a sham
- The PUC allows Xcel to incorporate a $20 per ton carbon tax into its resource acquisition models;