Private (non) investment in monopoly infrastructure

A few news items over the last week conspired to inspire me to vent.

First of all, PG&E has been fined for it's San Bruno pipeline explosion, and they just had another one near Fresno (however, that one may, or may not be a maintenance fault). An interesting side--note is that PG&E was granted a rate hike last year by the California Public Utilities Commission to cover their costs in improving infrastructure safety.

The other was an article in the Wall Street Journal this last week stating that a number of nuclear power station operators in the US are looking to charge their customers, through rate hikes, for either continue.


I was struck by commentary around the discussion about a potential increase in the minimum wage for San Francisco to $15 USD per hour, which is very similar to what Seattle has already done. It seems as if the restaurant owners' associations in each city are looking for a carve-out for tipped workers in both the Seattle and San Francisco cases, and threaten very expensive meals if they don't get it. If you look at this argument rationally, those restaurant owners are basically saying that the only way they can provide an affordable service is for their customers to directly subsidize the salary of their work force. In the United States, we call continue.

Unauthorized Disclosures in the Networked Age

Over the last few weeks, I've been reflecting on the latest round of scandals emanating from Washington D.C. For those of you who have been living under a rock on the dark side of the moon, here's a synopsis:

  • The IRS has been targeting organizations that have specific political orientations.
  • The NSA was caught with it's hands in multiple cookie jars, multiple times
    • Intercepting metadata on communications in the United States without legal oversight.
    • Collecting data from individuals Internet activities with the assistance of major Internet infrastructure and content providers.
    • Potentially Listening in to continue.