I contributed to the derailment, so the least I can do is offer something back on the original topic.
To the OP: It sounds to me like your previous gearing range was higher than your preferred gearing range (and by "preferred" I mean the gears that you would naturally gravitate toward if given the option) . Having higher gearing than your "legs wanted" forced you to do what was effectively "on bike power training" or "force training", as advocated by Friel, Burke, and many other coaches. It is essentially a way to help the train the muscles to produce maximal force, in much the way that weight training would, but in a more bike specific context (and without the eccentric phase, but that is another topic altogether). You can read one of Friel's posts on it here ( http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/11/force-reps.html
) but it is basically doing short stretches of steep climbing while in a higher gear than is comfortable for you, which should in theory improve muscle fiber recruitment and ultimately max force production.
Once you had lower gears available to you, you stopped doing this type of training, and the lack of power that you now describe may be a direct consequence of that. I say, add this component back in, and see what happens. You may actually get better results than before, as before you weren't doing these workouts deliberately, and the structure was therefore left to chance. By adding some deliberate and regular "force reps" into your workouts, you may better even more benefit out of it than before.
As an aside, I think that it may be valuable to separate the discussion of gear selection for specific training purposes vs. racing, where only wattage and duration matters. In training, you may want to run higher than normal gears to train force production, as previously discussed, and then you may want to run lower gears than normal to train your muscular coordination and improve your "spin". Conversely, in racing, or even a hard, competitive, non racing situation, you might not ever actually use those gears, but that does not make their use for specific training purposes less valid.
As other posters have mentioned, many have found they can produce higher wattage numbers in a gear that feels uncomfortably high, which runs counter to the "spin to win" creedo. My take on this is that it is entirely dependent on the context. In longer events, maximizing time spent "spinning" can save your legs some wear and tear, but when the time comes to give it full gas, with nothing saved for later, then for some riders it may make sense to run a gear or so harder than their legs are asking for. To tell for sure, you would need to do some power based testing in a controlled environment (ideally the trainer) in different gears (and therefore cadences) to test not only outputs at different durations, but also ability to repeat the efforts for multiple reps. Then, assuming you find that spinning lowers power, you would need to consider if it is worth some specific training to raise your max power output while at higher cadences, as Rick mentioned doing earlier in the thread.
Lance found greatly increased success and equal or greater power output with lower gearing and a consequent increase in cadence, although it may be that other "enhancements" are required to make full use of that technique.