An article in Sundays edition of the JS titled “Re-evaluation the role of Government by Steven Hill, author of “Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take all Politics,” reads “If the federal government and it’s various agencies had been better prepared for this entirely predictable natural catastrophe; there is little doubt that the damage and death toll would have been much reduced.” He attacks the “feeble response” by the federal government. He makes such inane statements “Political leaders should look for ways to make government credible and desirable in the minds of American people,” and says the federal government should mount a campaign to counter the anti-government propaganda blitz. He closes by saying “Yes, government can be good for you.”
Wow! What an enlightenment! No where in this article does he mention our laws protect states rights and states resent “big brother” from telling them what to do. Where were the elected and appointed leaders of Louisiana all these years when they knew all these problems were brewing? Why did they build below sea level? Why did they use up the barriers between dry land and the gulf? Why didn’t they have an evacuation plan for people without vehicles? Why didn’t they move the buses to higher ground? Why, after the buses were shown with water up to the windows, did all but 30 buses of the entire fleet now disappear? Why did 250 police people desert their posts? Why didn’t state and local leadership make a better case for stronger levees? Why didn’t they ask for help from other governmental agencies sooner? Why didn’t the Corps of Engineers make a stronger case to prevent the disaster they knew would someday happen? Perhaps pushing their case all the way to past and present Presidents?
Sure, the federal government comes in for its share of the blame. What do we expect? Both Republicans and Democrats often tines put up nominees for public office because they “feel these nominees can be elected”, not because they believe there nominees are best qualified for the job. Then we are blinded by “party loyalty” because most Democrats act like Democrats when elected and so do most Republicans. If one party is for it, the other party is against it. Yet when it comes to handing out the “pork” both parties realize what special interest groups headed by professional lobbyists, must be taken care of to keep the campaign dollars coming in, so the “pork” is fairly evenly divided with the major “pork” going to the state represented by the Committee Chairman. The best example to date is Chairman Don Young from Alaska and his greedy $243 million bridge to nowhere.
Then these “leaders” go about setting up or allowing so many bureaucracies that almost all the acronyms have been used up. The layers of government make it impossible for their employees to move rapidly. If states and local governments do not want the federal intervention, then state governments had better act responsibly as it appears they may have in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. Louisiana officials on most major levels appear not to have acted intelligently. It may be because they were in over their ability, or as the saying goes “in over their heads”. Or were too proud or jealous of their positions to ask for help; when they did it appears it was too late in the developing catastrophe.
Mr. Hill and other liberal writers wish to place all the blame on the feds (which is a transparent attack on the Bush Administration). These writers know about “states right” but it’s easier to blame the current administration. They know that states must first ASK for federal intervention in times of major catastrophes. Had the federal government been called in early, we probably would have less of a mess; on the other hand, DHS, when called upon was too unwieldy to act rapidly and FEMA, well FEMA is another cumbersome bureaucracy. Nothing will change until voters realize that many state and local elected and appointed people often times do not have the ability to act responsible in times of minor disasters, let alone, major disasters.
By contrast the private sector is constantly replacing or firing poorly performing managers and even poorly performing workers. The strong companies stay in business; the others often fail. In the public sector, entrenched elected officials are difficult to vote out and the unions protect too many poorly performing workers. The private sector almost always outperforms the public sector. Smaller companies usually outperform larger companies because they can act faster. We need effective government and government usually is good to you, but smaller government with less red tape and smaller bureaucracies can act faster and more efficiently IF they have the right leadership.
Each disaster presents opportunities to correct past failures. For the dead, the wounded, the physically and mentally handicapped, the disposed, the bankrupt and the homeless and helplessly poor, the opportunities have come to late