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Bill Niskanen Would Agree

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

You worry that, if approved as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Ron Binz will expand that agency’s reach well beyond its narrow mandate by conscripting it to fight “the climate wars” (“The Friends of Ron Binz,” August 26).

Your concern is justified.  As H.L. Mencken observed 80 years ago, “The bureaucrat begins, perhaps, by doing only what he conceives to be his sworn duty, but unless there are very efficient four-wheel brakes upon him he soon adds a multitude of inventions of his own, all of them born of his professional virtuosity and designed to lather and caress his sense of power.”*

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

* H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1996 [1956]), pp. 278-279.

And of course the current administration, far from equipping its bureaucrats with such brakes, instead strips them of brakes and installs upon them turbo-charged engines.