Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Paul Krugman needs to get a grip.

Paul Krugman of the NYT has finally lost his marbles. He claims that the Republican political philosophy of privatization. He claims that the Republican political philosophy of privatization has led to FEMA’s weakening as a public safety organization:

…when the government is run by a political party committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out.

Except Krugman fails to grasp that the Bush administration is hardly a small government proponent. With massive federal programs like No Child Left Behind and Medicare expansion it is puzzling that liberals like Krugman actually believe that this administration is anything but about big government. If there had been a Democrat in the Whitehouse these last eight years, these same programs would have been lauded as masterful strokes of good governance. FEMA is a perfect example of the problems of a large leviathan attempting to solve problems best left to more nimble organizations—and some of those are private entities. It seemed to me that the more that government (FEMA) tried to act after Katrina, the more it underutilized or prevented resources from being effectively applied.

The tragedy of Katrina wasn’t privatization. It was poor local, state, and federal governance during an emergency combined with decades of punting the obvious problems of weak levees to someone else when it was politically feasible. FEMA was probably never the great organization that many believed because it had never been really tested. Katrina exposed FEMA as the lame government entity that it had always been and, I suspect, still is.

5 comments:

CyberCelt said...

I would call giving the top job at FEMA to a horse racing judge (who had been fired) small government--at least small thinking.

Our infrastructure in this nation is crumbling because our tax dollars are being spent on programs to give subsidies to oil companies and to feather the nests of a few.

No Child Left Behind has done just that. I am from Texas and it did not work here and it is not working nationwide. Our kids are not learning what they need to learn to go to college. They are learning what they need to pass the test.

A person that truly is for small governmnet is Ron Paul. He is for the little person, but everyone thinks he is a kook.

God help us all.

VH said...

The issue isn’t just about the qualification of the person holding the “top job,” it’s the inefficient bureaucracy and the great expense of the program. We have a societal myth that all needs will be met if the right person is in power, as if this person will come riding on a white horse to save us from disaster and from ourselves. Ron Paul would have gutted FEMA if he ever had a chance to become President.

Thanks for the comment.

The Historian said...

Thus giant government bureaucracies like the VA, Medicare, the Dept of Education and so on are the picture of efficiency since they have been around under save the world, big government Dems as well?

VH said...

Historian- The Dems are the epitome of big government waste. At least with Republicans, we have some chance of a limited government. I'm hoping McCain/Palin can bring us some of that.

Jeff Perren said...

I recommend The Big Easy Rebuilds, an excellent article from City Journal, one of the best magazines in America today.