This past week saw the two-year anniversary since Hurricane Katrina put New Orleans under water. Of course, the news agencies were all over this, citing failure after failure of the government to address the needs of the storm victims. And in some respects, they are right.
In other respects, what else would anyone expect from government? Government, by and large, is a taker, not a giver. Government is very quick to take a portion of your paycheck in taxes, but very slow in distributing funds (just the paperwork takes weeks to process). If I remember correctly, there are still portions of Florida that are still in recovery mode from Hurricane Andrew from 1992.
Government failed the people of New Orleans. First and foremost was the Mayor of New Orleans, who didn’t order an evacuation of the city with the resources he had available to him (remember the infamous pictures of the drowned school buses?). He had plenty of time to implement disaster plans, but for some reason, didn’t. Second was the Governor, who stuck her head in the sand and didn’t call the National Guard to assist in evacuating the city, nor to provide relief efforts until days afterward the disaster. Last was the Federal Government, but not for the delay with FEMA aid.
The fault there was that there were numerous studies done and billions of dollars allocated for the levies to be reinforced. The levies were not reinforced as needed, but the funds diverted for other projects as deemed by various Federal politicians. I lay the blame squarely on the Federal government in not making sure that the funds were spent where best needed. (link here)
The other problem that I see is that the people of New Orleans (and other places in the United States) believe that the Government will take care of them, no matter what. The sad reality is that Government will not take care of them, and it is not the responsibility of the Government to take care of the individual’s needs. We are being lead to believe to the contrary, but where in the Constitution does it state specifically that the Government is to take care of the individual? It doesn’t, but we have been lead down that path, and we have blindly followed.
While I’m not a fan of Rudy Giuliani, he made this statement:
Government cannot take care of you. You’ve got to take care of yourself.
When I listen to some of the stories brought out this past week, some of them are truly heart-wrenching, others are not. When I hear of people moaning and groaning that the Government isn’t taking care of them and doing nothing to help improve their situation, my sympathy for that person hits a new low. When I hear of people trying to improve their situation by taking matters into their own hands, and requesting assistance to finish up that last part of putting their lives back together, then they have my admiration.
People need to take responsibility for themselves, period. Yes, there are those that need help to get back on their feet. But I oppose the “cradle to grave” or as Right-minded Frank would say “womb to tomb” support that certain segments of our society feels that they are entitled to. But I digress…
When I think of Government assisting the population, I always think of this quote:
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. – Ronald Reagan