Two Thoughts

One sober-minded, one less so.

First. Jonathan's post drives home further the essence of what Jim said: this was a Solution Unsatisfactory situation. The resources that would have been required to save large numbers of lives were trivially, pathetically small-- well within the reach of any institution, public or private, that was in the right place and had an incentive to think things through. But there is no sort of institution that has such an incentive.

Second. Nonetheless, when people in our voluntary society realized the Feds just weren't cutting the mustard, they put on-- continue to put on-- an amazing, inspiring display. The Red Cross coffers are swelled with nearly $200 million in donations. Their volunteer training classes attract a huge response. (The National Guard, mind-bogglingly, won't let them into New Orleans). Thousands of random strangers have opened their homes to those made homeless.

Rarely has it been so clear how much we, the ordinary people of this country, are better than our rulers. I hope that lesson is not lost on anyone, of any political persuasion. We are better than them and there is no good reason anymore-- if ever there was-- to keep on putting up with their lies.

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Seriously, can we please

Seriously, can we please divorce ourselves from this word?

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/incent.html

Quote of the Week Noting the

Quote of the Week
Noting the government failure, and ensuing outpouring of donations, volunteers, and support from private individuals, Nicholas Weininger writes:Rarely has it...

It's not a strawman. Wish

It's not a strawman. Wish it was, but it's not. When you vote for people who promise to make government smaller, you are in reality voting for people who will make goverment incompetent.

It's a mystery to me whether these people are lying to us about what they will do, or lying to themselves, but anyone who pays attention will see it clearly: Politicians who promise small goverment invariably provide goverment that is only slightly smaller, and is many orders of magnitude less capable.

Forget what you _want_ goverment to be, when you go to the polls you have to choose between the choices that are actually on the ballot, not some mythical small goverment.

And the choices are stark, You can have Big goverment that works, or you can have big goverment that doesn't work. Those are the only choices actully on offer.

Those that vote for big goverment that doesn't work deserve all of the scorn that their fellow citizens can muster.

Mandos: I call strawman.

Mandos: I call strawman. What on earth does wanting government to do *fewer things* have to do with wanting it to do whatever it does do less *well*? And in what alternate world has "everyone" been convinced to drown gov't in a bathtub? Funny, when people are convinced to drown gov't in a bathtub they usually don't act on that by making its spending rate increase faster than before.

Moreover, when was this magical time when political institutions faced strong pressure to do well at disaster planning, other than in the immediate aftermath of an actual disaster?

Yes because there has been a

Yes because there has been a huge political de-incentivizing of preparation for such problems. An unprecedented one in the Western world. And who, pray tell, is responsible for that, except those who WANT to de-incentivize planning? Convince everyone to drown the government in a bathtub, and you reap what you sow. :wall:

Bones: "And the choices are

Bones: "And the choices are stark, You can have Big goverment that works, or you can have big goverment that doesn’t work. Those are the only choices actully on offer."

That's pretty funny, in a very grim and sad way. There is no such thing as "big government that works", it's a delusion, it's a complete suspension of reality by the collectivists. Your so-called "big government that works" (I assume you mean Democrats when you say this, left wing collectivists) was the first to reject a plan to fund and rebuild levee's in New Orleans, in 1977. That project would have taken 25 years to complete. So, when the GOP Congress did the same thing in 2001, they weren't doing anything different from the "alternative", which is simply another face of the collectivist, big government coin.

But, thanks for the laugh Bones.

Katrina: Continuing the

Katrina: Continuing the Lessons Forgotten Meme
Nick Weininger, at Catallarchy, is on the meme that individuals and private charities are far better at disaster relief than collective bureaucracies. This is the same meme I'm talking about in Katrina: Lessons Forgotten. As Nick says: Rarely has it...

When what else did you

When what else did you expect from a President who stole its election!!!???. I think have been feeling for quite a long time that they are better than the appointed rulers but unfortunately, are feeling helpless, which we are NOT.

I read that everyone

I read that everyone especially the Democrats and socialists are up in arms because the FEMA and other government agencies are slow and inefficient in doing their jobs in helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina. On the other hand big companies such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the power companies (and the casinos) are moving quickly to help people. See http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112613957850434754,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otepee
According to Thomas Sowell in his book Basic Economics, this is inevitable. Referring to FEMA in 2004 as an example of a typical government bureaucracy, he points out that unlike a private company, no matter how much FEMA may be criticized or ridiculed for its failure to get aid to disaster victims, there is no rival government agency these people can turn to for the same service. Moreover the people who run these agencies are on a fixed salary schedule and are not paid according to how fast or efficiently they perform their job. On the other hand both Wal-Mart and Home Depot must compete for profit and good will. Business people are accused of being “greedy” while government bureaucrats are called “stupid.” Neither is true. Each operates under different incentives.

Thus the Democrat and socialists complaints are futile. Government has fouled things up again as usual.

I find it interesting how

I find it interesting how the term, "fault" can be applied to a hurricane. Katrina was an act of nature, a category 4 storm that was not created by humans. (unless your trying to play the global warming angle)

We have come to expect far too much from our government officials. In fact, measuring the scope of the disaster by the number of people saved, the system worked spectacularly. To have a storm of this magnitude that inflicted this degree of damage result in such a relatively small loss of life is miraculous. FEMA and government at all levels should be thanked for the efficient response to an unimaginable catastrophe.

In our antiseptic world, we have grown to expect that no disaster should result in any loss of life. No war should have any casulaties, no medical condition result in death, no terrorist attacks should be allowed to happen. In truth, the government is doing much more, much better than it ever has.

To add comment to your

To add comment to your suggestion that the "ordinary people" being better than our rulers, it's these ordinary people that elected those rulers that we have. It's those "ordinary people" that put us in the position that we are in now. It's those "ordinary people" that did not see the shortcomings of this administration and make changes.

Would another president or congress or head of DHS deal with the situation better? We'll never know. Until it happens again.

9/11 has also been and will continue to be Bush's only fallback and he feels that the rally of support that was given for that will carry him thru any and all situations that he has to deal with. Five weeks of vacation? "9/11 was tough and I need to live my life." New Orleans under water? "I need to talk about social security and how 9/11 caused us to put that at the forfront." He lives in a vacuum. He sees what he wants, when he wants. Not a leader that this "ordinary person" looks up to.

Government today and in the future will never be what we need or expect.

Big government of any type

Big government of any type does not work, period!! As we can now glaringly see, it has failed due to layers and layers of red tape. It seems funny that people(congress) now wants FEMA to be a seperate government entity from DHS when they were the ones who made it part of the DHS departments in the first place. The argument most people want to make is a bigger department with more money, people, and assets that can move more quickly. The problem is these people sit around most of the time making more stupid rules and regulations to follow when the SHTF. The Federal government needs to be smaller not larger, give the authority to the people who will be at the problem so they can make the decisions. That is how the orginal government of the United States was to have been set up, thus "United" states. If we had the governers of states running disaster situations with the feds as back-up we would not have as many problems,(although you do need competant leadership at the governer level which we do not have in LA.)

We reap what we sow. We

We reap what we sow. We have been sowing the seeds of a big government in the hopes that it will give us everything we want and keep us safe from the world. Government can never be successful in those two things. Firstly, because in order to give us everything we want, it must first take it away from us. Otherwise, it has nothing to give. Secondly, those in power try to stay in power rather than actually doing anything real to protect us.

This disaster is the fault of the American people for continuing this big government fantasy. More specifically, it's the fault of the people of Lousiana and New Orleans for not taking care of themselves. They live in a place where hurricanes are very possible. They had the time to prepare and pretty much everybody has the means to prepare.

When it comes time to lay blame, people should look in the mirror.

r

Government is the problem!

Government is the problem!

The mayor of New Orleans, for one, did not follow his city's disaster plan; Governor of Louisiana did not maintain communication between the parish officials/City Gov and the feds (FEMA, White House, ...); and Feds (WH/FEMA) did not communicate with anybody.

GWBush should not have waited for a sitrep from FEMA, nor should he have to ask for it.

DHS is incompetent, FEMA is infected by DHS.

I have seen over and over

I have seen over and over the Superdome debacle. If I had invited 20,000 people to my home...even for just an hour...I had better have plenty of beverages and a place to flush them when they passed. That Dome should have had bottled water and port-a-johns in place. Blame the Mayor and his croonies there. Thank God the Mayor is Black.

Bones, the choice in the USA

Bones, the choice in the USA is not between big government and small government. The choice is between doing things at the federal level versus doing them at the state level. It's quite possible that if we left most things to the states, that some of the states would be socialist paradises, some would be libertarian paradises, and others would be fascist paradises. When we try to do everything at the federal level (which is what you seem to propose), people lose the freedom to choose between good government and sucky government. So all we end up with is sucky government.
-russ

The most interesting part

The most interesting part about this whole thing is the way that government and civic leaders continue to blame people without looking in the mirror. They take us, their constituents for granted. They think that we aren't smart enough to realize that their lack of action and failed policies caused the problems in the aftermath of the storm. Here are the facts:
1) Congress brought up the idea of making FEMA part of Homeland Security. Now, they all are trying to blame someone else for their decision. All they have to say is why they thought it was best to put it there in the first place and change it moving forward
2) The city and state goverment failed the people in New Orleans. The first line of defense in a storm is city government, if they can't handle it, they REQUEST help of the state. If they can't handle it, they REQUEST help of the federal government. You can call it what you want, but that's the way our government works. The cities and state of Mississippi were in sync and are much more united in their relief effort.

The bottom line is, the citizens of these two states were not as prepared as they should have been. Take it from someone that lived in Miami when hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, we learned the hard way too. As a result of this catastrophe in 1992, people in Florida are MUCH more prepared whenever a storm is coming.

I hope this never happens again, but we never expected something like this to happen again after Andrew either.