From a reader (one of many):
I haven’t written in so long because I so often agree
or at least closely so, BUT could you clarify your
justification (and Rich & Rod’s) on sending in the
feds to New Orleans?
Isn’t this disaster the perfect example of why the
feds should be so limited rather than being a
“mother-of-all-exceptions”? How much of the $26
Billion should be subsidized by DC? Where would the
aid stop? Troops to maintain order while under marshal
law? Then what? Water, food, clothing, temp housing,
job locator’s, low rate personal loans?
And why federal troops? Isn’t this sort of event the
very reason (among others) for the existence of the LA
National Guard? The feds are already going to be all
over this event like white on rice in the short term
which most assuredly will turn into long term aid and
dollars. Why encourage the idea?
And long term, shouldn’t economic forces drive the
rebuild effort and investment? Why not rebuild if it’s
on the taxpayers dime? If insurance companies and
individuals have to assess the risk and rewards of
rebuilding using their own money won’t they make
better decisions about how it is done and to what
extent, if at all?
Me confused. If I missed a post in the Corner which
explains all this or I misunderstood please forgive me
and discard this rant.
All the Best,
Me: Hey, I agree that moral hazard’s a real problem and I’m totally game to have a serious debate about the tab the federal government should or should not pick up down the road. But it seems clear that Lousiana isn’t up to the task. This is quickly deteriorating into a humanitarian crisis of fairly enormous proportions. The looting cannot be contained. CNN reports indicate that the local police cannot communicate with each other. The governor is a hack out of her depth by all accounts. There are lots of things government isn’t supposed to do. But I don’t think letting a city revert to a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, while decent people die falls into the necessary costs of federalism. It’s entirely possible that things aren’t as bad as all that. But that’s how it appears, and that appearance alone is unacceptable. But, yeah, sure. Let’s have a healthy discussion about insuring people in flood zones and whatnot once order has been restored.