Bureaucrats All the Way Down

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Bigger Pie Forum | Bureaucrats All the Way Down | Kelley Williams
 
In Hindu mythology, the world rested on the back of a great turtle which rested on another turtle.  And so on.  It was turtles all the way down.
Which reminds me of the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Mississippi River Commission (MRC).  Both rest on bureaucrats — all the way down. When faced with change, bureaucrats withdraw into their shells and default to the status quo.  So, if they are wrong, there’s precedent.  And lots of company.
The PSC regulates Mississippi’s legal utility monopolies.  The Mississippi River Commission kind of regulates the flood control monopoly Congress gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1928.
In the case of Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Lignite Plant, PSC bureaucrats repeatedly defaulted to the original political decision to bet billions on an unworkable experiment to gasify lignite. As a result, Mississippi Power’s customers pay more for electricity than anyone else in the state.
In the case of Mississippi River floods, MRC and Corps bureaucrats default to the 1928 Mississippi River and Tributaries Project flood control plan even though it causes record floods — the worst in 500 years according to a recent study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientists.
The record floods have been contained by the levees and hills that have bound the river — so far.  When no levee failures occurred this year, the General responsible for flood control called the third highest flood ever at Natchez a “non-event” — although it flooded almost a million acres of private land inside the levees and hills.  Some of it for months.
In both cases, bureaucrats deferred to politicians. Fortunately, in the case of Kemper, two new politically independent Commissioners were elected who didn’t defer to politicians.  They changed the status quo.  And saved Mississippi Power’s customers billions.  Let’s

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