April 27, 2006
I'll believe it when I see it. Government agencies, once established, NEVER go away, no matter how useless or incompetent they are.
I'm not the only one who fears that what we'll end up with is a "restructured" FEMA plus another government agency charged with doing the same job.
Hey! It's GOVERNMENT! The answer to EVERY problem is to spend more money and create another bureaucracy. Obviously, the way to fix FEMA is to give us twice as much of it.
Emergency response and disaster relief should be handled at the local level, not from some office in Washington DC. If the federal government simply must be involved, let it provide funds for LOCAL agencies, then get the hell out of the way. People directly involved in a disaster have a lot more motivation to handle problems quickly and efficiently than the federal government does.
We saw that happen after Katrina with the National Guard, the Red Cross and local volunteers. THEY actually did a pretty good job while FEMA simply threw money to the wind. Local people understand the problems and have plenty of reason to deal with them. FEMA doesn't.
The only problem with my idea is when you have great leaders such as Ray Nagin in charge of local relief efforts. Give HIM a shit-load of federal money and he'll squander what he doesn't steal or pass along to his cronies.
But Nagin and the corrupt political system of Louisiana are an anomaly. Most local governments aren't THAT fucked up. And when my living room is flooded and the roof is blown off my house, I don't want to wait on some distant bureaucrat to "help" me. Give me somebody local who faces the same problems that I face.
But I'm dreaming. Once the federal government moves in, it NEVER moves out, no matter how badly it performs. When it screws up, it'll just invent a way to make incompetence more costly and call that crap a cure.
If FEMA is such a great idea, why doesn't the federal government run a National Fire Department?
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