We’ve been on the government cronyism beat for…a while.
Because cronyism – is inherent in government. Government officials spend money – and they will oft look to do so to benefit the people who get them elected.
It is why we less government types – want less government. Less government spending – less opportunities for cronyism.
The solution isn’t to curtail our First Amendment rights to speak and lobby. The solution is to restore government to Constitutional tininess.
Meanwhile, the attempts to justify cronyism – the excuses for cronyism – are as numerous as the stars in the sky. And they all have (at least) one thing in common – they are ALL exceedingly lame.
Take Amazon’s exceedingly crony deal to locate its second headquarters in New York. The deal one-term (and one-term only – watch) Democrat Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) helped to kill.
Most of us less government types – got that entirely wrong. AOC was right – though she had almost zero idea why.
These cronyisms paying for themselves – is like the search for the Loch Ness Monster. They never work out – but we never stop looking.
These corporations – are pirates. They will put into any port at all – whichever offers them the most cronyism.
They will then continue to demand additional capitulations – and will stay as long as they continue to get them. When the host finally tires of being bled and says “Enough” – the pirates leave…and start looking for their next victims.
If you have to buy someone – you have to ensure they stay bought. Which means they aren’t bought – they’re rented.
Amazon is loyal – only to itself. If you want a friend in politics – get a dog.
Most unfortunately, Texas is rapidly descending into cronyism-infested governmental-ism.
“George Mason’s Mercatus Center releases a yearly ranking of freest states.
“In 2009 – Texas was fourth.
“In 2017 – Texas was twenty-third.”
“Specifically by state Senator Kelly Hancock (SB 1938) and state Representative Dade Phelan (HB 3995). Hancock is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce – and Phelan Chairman of the House Committee on State Affairs. So you’d hope they’d know better.
“The legislation has to do with electricity – and (specifically) electricity transmission….
“‘An electric utility may not directly or indirectly provide service to the public under a franchise or permit unless the utility first obtains from the commission a certificate (called a CCN) that states that the public convenience and necessity requires or will require the installation, operation, or extension of the service.
“Legalese-to-English translation: Any company that wants to provide (electricity transmission) service – must first play Mother May I with the government.
“And this is not just a routine permit process request. The company must meet some amorphously awful definition of ‘public convenience and necessity.’
“Which means the government has any one of a million obtuse outs – to deny permission to any company it wishes.
“To my highly cynical eye and mind – this looks very much like an incumbent protection bill. Designed to allow government to block any and all newcomers – to shield the existing providers from the additional competition.”
A precursor to this bill? A non-crony actually won a transmission contract – by offering a lower price for better and upgraded service. Cronyism can’t stand for that.
To detail this – we now must regrettably enter Acronym Land. A government place where its myriad agencies all have long names – shortened to just their first letters.
Here’s our map legend:
FERC: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
PUC: Public Utility Commission of Texas
ERCOT: Electric Reliability Council of Texas
MISO: “MISO is a not-for-profit member-based organization that ensures reliable, least-cost delivery of electricity across all or parts of 15 U.S. states and one Canadian province.” Including in Texas.
And of course, the residents of Acronym Land use language that is oft unnecessarily dense and bizarre – almost always to obfuscate and distort. We will do our best to un-cloud the waters.
Ok, here goes….
The electricity transmission line the non-crony won the bid to run – is outside of ERCOT (the Texas-only grid manager). It is instead in MISO’s area – so FERC has jurisdiction over rates. As they must – since it is a multi-state transmission grid.
Thus FERCs bidding process – does in fact rule the day.
The winning non-crony bidder was less expensive – and they promised to deliver new, upgraded technology in an expeditious manner.
An incumbent crony monopoly – is Entergy. They lost the bid war – and went whining…not to FERC, the host of the bid process. Entergy instead went to the Texas PUC – where they hold much more crony sway.
Entergy asked Texas PUC to overturn or change the results of the competitive bid process – that Texas PUC didn’t even run.
The argument Entergy (and all other incumbent transmission monopolies in the state) are making – is that they have no confidence FERC will actually hold the winning bidder accountable for the lower rates, new technology and expedited timeline contained in the winning bid.
Ok – conceivably understandable.
To address this issue, a part of the crony Hancock-Phelan bills – to which no one at all objects – would allow the Texas PUC to hold the bidder accountable to their bid.
This is double-down protection – as FERC would almost certainly enforce the terms of the contract they themselves elicited in their bid process.
Of course you can have that portion of the bill – as a standalone bill. Without all the crony protection nonsense the Hancock-Phelan bills contain.
Ok – now we must very briefly get into some serious government weeds. And additional attending ridiculous language. Again, our apologies.
Texas PUC will have to issue the non-crony bid winner an aforementioned, statewide Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) to build the line.
The other argument Entergy and the Cronies are making: Because a non-incumbent won the bidding – FERC will have to meddle in state energy transmission.
Except…that’s not true. Nothing actually changes.
Oh – and did you get that antithetical mess made by the cronies’ two arguments?
Argument 1: “We’re very concerned the federal government will not involve itself.”
Argument 2: “We’re very concerned the federal government will involve itself.”
This is just the sort of incoherence you get – when cronies try to ensure their cronyism.
Because cronyism – never, ever makes any actual sense at all.
This first appeared in Red State.