When the levee breaks

The fact that New Orlean's levees were not overtopped, but were in fact a catastrophic engineering failure in the face of a storm there were ultimately designed to protect against has been a disturbingly under-reported story.  A Washington Post Editorial nicely summarizes these facts and informs us that now Congress is looking to have even less oversight over the Army Corps of Engineers.  Apparently one plan being pushed by some unwise Senators actually suggests that the new levee plans be exempt from cost-benefit analysis.  That is policy insanity and a recipe for fiscal disaster.  One of my all-time favorite non-fiction books is Cadillac Desert, which in large part examines how the Army Corps of Engineers has long-been the outlet for extraordinarily unwise policy.  The more things change…

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