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Disaster: When you want solutions
The American Thinker ^ | September 12th, 2005 | Christopher Chantrill

Posted on 09/13/2005 9:21:34 AM PDT by Tolik

There is no doubt that the Bush administration made a big blunder in its planning for hurricane Katrina.  It had planned for hurricane relief in which FEMA assisted the state and local governments in getting help where it was most needed, based on the assumption that local resources could hang on until 72 to 96 hours after the disaster.  That is why ever since 9/11 state and local governments have been showered with federal funding as First Responders.

Where the feds failed was in planning for another contingency, one that, in hindsight, any fool should have thought of.  They should have planned for dealing with dysfunctional state and local governments that had utterly failed to prepare or to execute their disaster recovery plans, or both, but like dysfunctional families were world champs in the blame game. 

But how would the feds know when a local government was dysfunctional?  Here is a clue.  When the local officials yell: Send everything, communicating that they haven’t a clue, you switch to Plan B.  When they yell: The President doesn’t care about black/poor people, it is already too late.

Conservatives are always taken by surprise when the Democrats wave the bloody shirt of class and race, as now in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.  We shouldn’t.  That is how their politics works.  It is not based on sensible, practical discussion of the issues, but on the raw emotions of rage and fear.  You identify a need.  You blame racism, classism, or sexism.  You issue demands for new government programs and increased government power.  Then you publicize horror stories about the sufferings of the helpless victims. 

On the public radio program This American Life on this last 9/11 anniversary weekend, Ira Glass executed the politics of the bloody shirt flawlessly, with appalling stories of victimization and racism in New Orleans.  One angry victim even complained that her government had betrayed her.  That segment was next to a clip of Bill O’Reilly advising Americans not to rely on government to save them.

You can see the beauty of the racism/sexism/classism narrative.  It has everything needful in a political ideology.  It explains everything, and it explains it in a way calculated to provoke people to rage and to political action.  “They” should have done something!  “They” don’t care about people like us!

But then there was the segment about the woman who finally got out of the city when she got her union president on her cell phone.  He was able to get her across the bridge to safety.  And there was the woman in Atlanta, her house bursting with family from the devastated area.  Prompted to demand help from the government, said that that she didn’t know about that.  She was just helping her family. 

There’s a moral here, courtesy of public radio.  When the government betrays you, only the little platoons will save you.

So government is a bust.  What about America’s big corporations?  According to The Wall Street Journal, businesses from Wal-Mart to Home Depot are reacting massively and effectively to the crisis. 

Home Depot’s “war room” had transferred high-demand items--generators, flashlights, batteries and lumber--to distribution areas surrounding the strike area. Phone companies readied mobile cell towers and sent in generators and fuel. Insurers flew in special teams and set up hotlines to process claims.

Wal-Mart had reopened all but 15 of its 126 stores shut down by Katrina, and had opened mini Wal-Marts to hand out goods to survivors.  Pfizer piggy-backed on Wal-Mart’s supply chain to dispense pharmaceuticals.  “‘What companies do is solve problems,’ says Johanna Schneider, an executive director at the Business Roundtable.”  Governments, on the other hand, respond to problems. 

If you want to solve a problem, turn to business.  If you want to respond to a problem, turn to government, but don’t expect a solution.  Oh no.  Government is not in the problem solution business.  That is why government programs never end, they only get bigger.

As we conservatives go forward with our imperfect program to reduce the vast Leviathan that has been created over the last century to respond to poverty, to respond to racial segregation, to respond to crime, respond to drugs, we should keep this truth in mind.  Government is the domain of the First Responders.  If we want to solve problems we must revive the little platoons—the families and the unions that rescued This American Life’s victims—that have withered in the shade of the Responder State.  And when it comes to the big battalions, we should choose big business over big government to get the job done.

If the response to Katrina’s failures is another layer of government, we had better start laying in supplies for the next big one.  For we will know that our elected responders don’t plan on a solution any time soon.

Christopher Chantrill ( blogs here.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: christopherchantrill; katrina; neworleans

1 posted on 09/13/2005 9:21:39 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...

Nailed It!

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

2 posted on 09/13/2005 9:22:32 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Basically we should take over Chicago, Miami, LA, & San Fran since they are all incompently run.....and by Democraps as well.

3 posted on 09/13/2005 9:25:47 AM PDT by Bommer
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To: Tolik

That may be the best post-Katrina summation of the situation I have read to date.

4 posted on 09/13/2005 9:26:06 AM PDT by Armando Guerra
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To: Tolik

Fantastic article!

5 posted on 09/13/2005 9:26:47 AM PDT by justche (No one can go back and make a brand new start, any one can start now and make a brand new ending)
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To: Bommer
MPLS is well on it's way to joining this group.

How bad is it? The Green party is the opposition here.
6 posted on 09/13/2005 9:38:46 AM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: Valin

Ouch. That sounds pretty painful. Very Euro-like.

7 posted on 09/13/2005 9:47:42 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: Tolik
And there was the woman in Atlanta, her house bursting with family from the devastated area. Prompted to demand help from the government, said that that she didn’t know about that. She was just helping her family.

If they didn't talk to my sister-in-law who lives in Alpharetta, and has a (dare I say mansion) FULL of her in-laws (from the Best Side, who are really nice folks, BTW) they sure did describe her situation and what she'd say about help from the government!

8 posted on 09/13/2005 9:49:33 AM PDT by George Smiley (This tagline deliberately targeted journalists.)
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To: Tolik

Enthusiastic bump. Thanks for the ping.

9 posted on 09/13/2005 10:57:14 AM PDT by RottiBiz
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To: Tolik
we should choose big business over big government to get the job done

It has been thrilling to see American businesses responding to the disaster in myriad ways with transportation, needed supplies, etc. There's no question they're making a difference. However ultimately companies are in business to make money, and there is necessarily a limit to their generosity. If early estimates are to be believed and we really are looking at total tab -- paid for the federal government -- of $100 billion, I find it impoosible to imagine how that kind of fuinding could ever originate with private industry. Of course the clean up and reconstruction will be performed by private companies -- as has already begun. But the funding for it? This is more than the cost of a couple hundred generators and some pallets of Poland Spring. If we should not look to government to provide the means for a reconstruction of this magnitude, who does this author believe would provide it? I am not naive, I know that government money = taxpayers money = you and me, ultimately. My point is simply that in a disaster of this magnitude it's ridiculous to think that any private company, or group of companies, would ever donate all of what's really needed. $5 million worth? Sure, and thank you very much. $100 billion? There's just no way, IMO.
10 posted on 09/13/2005 3:57:44 PM PDT by Bellows
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To: Tolik
I haven't seen anything from the 'American Thinker' that isn't spot-on. It's one of the few sites I've bookmarked.
11 posted on 09/13/2005 4:04:09 PM PDT by johnny7 (“And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”)
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