Thursday, August 30, 2007

Boaz Whipping up a Storm about Big Government

Cato's David Boaz usually hits home, and he's done it again in this article about the handling of Katrina.

As he points out, "You've got to hand it to the advocates of big government. They're never embarrassed by the failures of government. On the contrary, the state's every malfunction is declared a reason to give government more money and more power."

Hurricane Isabel2
[Thanks to for this photo.]

Isn't that the truth? Hillary, Obama, and Edwards show up to commemorate the catastrophe, and what is their message? It's not the fault of big government; it's the fault of Bush. If "I" had been in control, this wouldn't have happened. More rubbish on the Katrina trash heap.

Bush shows up and the only clip you see on the media is his affectionate gesture towards a stiff Mayor of New Orleans. (I have yet to hear on any MSM new channel what he actually said.)

People: These individuals are just your employees. They act on your behalf. Do you really want them in charge of this kind of job in the future?

Boaz also points out: "Government kept individuals, businesses, and charities from responding as quickly as they wanted.... [The] Department of Homeland Security refused permission for the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to go into the city and deliver water, food, medicine, and other relief supplies to those suffering at the Superdome and convention center. Similarly, [Homeland Security's director] took several days to sign a simple proclamation allowing doctors licensed out of state to help the sick and injured. Several doctors sat around for days waiting to go to work."


"FEMA issued a sternly worded release on August 29, the same day the hurricane made landfall along the Gulf Coast, titled 'First Responders Urged Not to Respond to Hurricane Impact Areas.' [Blogger's Note: Typical big-government employee hubris, no faith in the free market.] FEMA wanted all the responders to be coordinated and to come when they were called. And that was one plan they followed. As the New York Times reported September 5:

" 'When Wal-Mart sent three trailer trucks loaded with water, FEMA officials turned them away, [Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard] said. Agency workers prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and on Saturday they cut the parish's emergency communications line, leading the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA, Mr. Broussard said.'

"Those weren't the only examples. The city declined Amtrak's offer to carry evacuees out of the city before the storm. On September 2, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, 'Up to 500 Florida airboat pilots have volunteered to rescue Hurricane Katrina survivors, transport relief workers and ferry supplies. But they aren't being allowed in.' Hundreds of firefighters responding to a call for help were held in Atlanta by FEMA for several days of training on community relations and sexual harassment."

You gotta be kidding.

And this is nice:

"But it's no accident that governments often fail at their tasks. The incentives are all wrong. Profit-seeking companies are constantly driven to innovate, improve, cut costs, and deliver better service for less money, lest they lose customers to their competitors or even go out of business. Churches and charities are motivated by love and commitment, as well as by the need to satisfy donors or run out of money. Governments can raise taxes or print money. If a government agency fails at its mission, the usual response is to give it more money next year--not a very good incentive for success. Politicians would rather cut a ribbon at a Cowgirl Hall of Fame than fix potholes or levees."

Read the whole article. It's an eye-opener.

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