How can Paul Krugman have devoted his entire New York Times column today to proving that the energy crisis in California was caused by market manipulation by greedy corporations — without even once mentioning the name of the numero uno manipulator: Enron?

Krugman claims that Vice President Cheney’s energy task force misdiagnosed the California crisis, while “yes, I am patting myself on the back for getting it right.” But when, exactly, was Krugman “getting it right”? When he was paid $50 thousand to be a member of the Enron Advisory Board? When he was writing glowing puff-pieces on Enron for Fortune magazine? Or when he was accusing the Bush administration of “crony capitalism” for its involvement with Enron, without admitting his own involvement? Does he really think that by not mentioning the name Enron in a column about energy market manipulation that no one will remember any of that?

And does he think that, just because the Times doesn’t fact-check him, that no one else will either when he grossly misrepresents a report released this week by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission? Krugman says,

“…the new report concludes that market manipulation was pervasive, and offers a mountain of direct evidence, including phone conversations, e-mail and memos. There’s no longer any doubt: California’s power shortages were largely artificial, created by energy companies to drive up prices and profits.”

But, in reality, the report says no such thing. The second and third sentences of its executive summary say:

“Staff concludes that supply-demand imbalance, flawed market design and inconsistent rules made possible significant market manipulation as delineated in final investigation report. Without underlying market dysfunction, attempts to manipulate the market would not be successful.”

Well, it’s going to be tough for Krugman to honestly say what was in that report. The report was written “by order of the Commission, to determine whether Enron Corp. or any other sellers manipulated electricity and natural gas markets in California…” But we can’t mention Enron, now can we?

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