Disaster Relief: More Big Government Boondoggling

SUPER-SIZED SUPERSTORM BILL DEMONSTRATES LATEST FAILURE OF PUBLIC SECTOR’S “RELIEF” EFFORT By Howard Rich || There are plenty of reasons why America is teetering on the brink of fiscal collapse – unsustainable entitlement costs, unprecedented welfare expansion and loose monetary policy from the Fed (to name just a few) –…


By Howard Rich || There are plenty of reasons why America is teetering on the brink of fiscal collapse – unsustainable entitlement costs, unprecedented welfare expansion and loose monetary policy from the Fed (to name just a few) – but another reason is the shameful exploitation of disaster relief funding.

The latest example of this contemptible practice is the massive $60.4 billion “Hurricane Sandy recovery bill” currently making its way through the U.S. Congress.  Like prior “emergency relief” resolutions, this legislation – the largest disaster appropriation in American history – is more about propping up politicians and bailing out bureaucracies than it is about helping those in need.

Before addressing this latest boondoggle, though, let’s make one thing clear: Government shouldn’t be in the “disaster relief” business in the first place.

“Except for the deployment and coordination of National Guard units, local police, and fire fighters to enforce the rule of law and to protect private property … national government ought not to bear the primary responsibility for disaster relief,” writes William F. Shugarth, a University of Mississippi professor who investigated public and private sector responses to Hurricane Katrina. “The price tag is simply too high.”

Shugarth’s extensive research chronicles the “bureaucratic paralysis” that afflicted the public sector during the Katrina debacle – contrasting government’s inefficiency and corruption with the speed and humanity of the private sector response.

“In the case of Hurricane Katrina, as in many other natural disasters, the immediate reactions of for-profit businesses, nongovernmental organizations large and small, and countless individual volunteers amply demonstrate that the private sector can and will supply disaster relief in adequate and perhaps socially optimal quantities,” Shugarth concludes.

Of course in Obama’s America these corporate citizens exist only to be vilified – and then taxed into oblivion – even though they are among the very first to reach needy citizens during times of crisis.

“(Private sector) companies did not tend only to their narrow interests when catastrophe struck,” Shugarth notes.  “The disaster plans they had in place allowed them to fill broader needs far in advance of the official first responders.”

The public sector’s response on the other hand was an unmitigated failure from the start – a case study in bureaucratic mismanagement and resource misappropriation.  In fact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) not only botched its own response – it actually impeded non-profit first responders in their efforts to help those in need.

“The Red Cross begged to be allowed to go (into New Orleans) to distribute essential relief supplies but was prevented by government officials from doing so,” reveals a 2006 report published by The Cato Institute, one of numerous instances in which Homeland Security bureaucrats stood in the way of vital aid.

The Cato report also reveals the extent to which political considerations dictate the appropriation of disaster funds, concluding that “as long as the federal government has the power to dispense disaster relief funds, its incentive is to do so in a way that maximizes political ends instead of dispensing them to those with genuine need.”

Permitting politicians and bureaucrats to manage a disaster makes about as much sense as letting them manage a budget in the first place.  Which brings us back to the so-called “Sandy recovery bill.”

What’s in this boondoggle?  Well there’s a $300 million bailout for Amtrak – government’s money-losing train system.   There’s also $150 million set aside for “fishery disasters” – including money earmarked for Alaska and Mississippi.   There’s even $50 million for the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund.

But these are just a few of the fringe expenses associated with this monstrosity.  The “Sandy recovery bill” also includes $1.5 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to spend on unrelated dredging projects and “damage from previous natural disasters.”  Billions more in “community development block grants” will also flow far outside of the impacted areas.

It’s a bureaucratic free for fall, in other words.

It’s been said that the federal government never lets a crisis go to waste.  Apparently it never stops wasting money in a crisis, either.  In either case it’s time for this failed top-down approach to give way to the proven efficiency of the private sector.  That’s the best way to protect citizens – and taxpayers – when disasters strike.


Howard Rich is chairman of Americans for Limited Government. He is also a syndicated columnist for Liberty Features.

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BigT January 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

The BIG problem: Is that you see this as news…

From FITS to NBC…they think Major Eff-Ups by the government are the norm…They accept it like that…

FITS even says that there is No difference between Romney and Obama…

With self-deemed, thought-authorites and “Journalists” (term used loosely) that GD Ignorant…why are you suprised???

You might better open the door ready to Slap the Living P!$$ out of these Leftwing Idiots…otherwise they actually “Dialogue” the Stupid into debating this crap…

You Obliterate Evil..and that’s what liberalsim is…but as long as they can convince you it’s debatable…you Get Dumb@$$#$ like FITS muddying the water…so that the system is more ROT than right…

Just look at the White House….

T-bot 5000 January 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm

You look like I need a drink.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

You look like a Carping little Liberal Dumb@$$…too Stupid to create anything on your own to say….

Harry Bawls January 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm


BigT January 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thanks, Harry…

Saluda Rapids January 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

No, it’s the T-bot 5000 who is funny. You are a dumbass.

south mauldin January 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm

T-bot = priceless.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

How do you know SR???…It looks like Harry is Lol-ing me…

That said: you people are some Small, petty and Paranoid Son of a B!*ches…

Scared to death someone is seeing through your Ignorant @$$#$….

DeAndre Cole January 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm

BigT seems to say a lot of the same shit over and over again.

Steve January 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Granted FEMA under Brownie and Bush was a cluster from the word go. FEMA subsequently ramped up their efforts to now meet the federal mandates.

There is no excuse for the extraneous items and they have to go from the final bill. I hope my Congressman Mick Mulvaney will see to that.

The real question is why do we have federal flood insurance? This is nothing but federal subsidies for coastal residents. Private insurers know it cost a fortune to insure coastal property and price their product accordingly. These heavily Republican areas like Horry and Beaufort will surely holler if those subsidies are cut.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the SC 1st and 7th districts.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

You F%^&*in Dumb@$$…New Orleans D#%n sure ain’t GOP voting…

Those lazy, Hand-out Beggers are who broke the bank…you Brain-Dead Idiot….

Sailor January 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Big T(urd), you are the only Brain-Dead Idiot here. You can’t even come up with an intelligent response to a comment.

Steve made an intelligent comment, too bad you’re incapable of making an intelligent response rather than your profane laced drivel.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

There is no evidence that the people in Horry and/or Beaufort are getting propped up by the government…

They pay outrageous inurance rates, that were Hiked up um-mercifly to pay for the ill-prpared and stupid of New Orleans…

And the media just added fuel by blaming Bush and decent people for the Criminal Stupidity of the democrat voters of N.O…

Now this Pieces of $#!* (Steve) is going to blame South Carolinaians..

You better GTF out my face…I’ve totally had it with you F^&*in Dumb@$$#$…

Obama Cheating back into office has emboldened you w/ your Ignorance…You are even More Stupid and Corrupt now…because you think that is the way to keep Stealing us blind…and the media has blessed your gods of theft…

Smirks January 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm

The real question is why do we have federal flood insurance?

Flood insurance would be astronomical if it were offered as a separate service, that’s for damn sure.

You could mandate home insurance always cover flood damage no matter what, then all homeowners would have to subsidize it to some degree (albeit those living in flood-prone areas or coastal regions would pay more). I wonder just how high that would jack up home insurance costs?

I don’t have major problems with government disaster relief efforts as long as they stay within the bounds of relief for that specific disaster’s damage. Red Cross might help you find a bit of shelter and food but it won’t rebuild your home or place of work.

Saluda Rapids January 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm

We’re in your face, sucktard. What are you going to do?

And now Obama cheated his way into office? You sound as much like a crying pussy as Romney did after the election. You’ve enjoyed when others have cheated their way into office, so you should show some admiration for BO.

Bonhoeffer January 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

C’mon Howard, tell us some more about the “proven efficiency of the private sector.” You might start with the economic collapse of the financial system in 2008-2009 caused by Wall Street financial institutions and American banks. Many areas of the private sector do an admirable job, but in the case of too many, you’ d better cut the cards before you let them deal.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

When the Leftwing ‘Community Re-Investment Act’ FORCED banks to GIVE money to people who were too lazy and/or irresponsible to pay it back…

What did you expect you Ignorant, mouth-Breathing Bottom-Feeder…????

The Fact that Liberals are nothing but F%^k Ups is one thing…But the way you Lie (or are you really that G^& D#*n Stupid?) is Absolutely Amazing…

junior justice January 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm


ceilidh10 January 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Mr Rich is a lapdog of the super rich.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

And Mr. Obama is a Failure for all of the country….

I don’t care about Mr. rich…

junior justice January 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Who is the cute 16 year old in the photo? Why are these three standing around doing nothing? What “CORPS” ? They are wearing some quality free hoodies>

CNSYD January 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

“There’s even $50 million for the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund.”

Howie is all over it! Why preserve anything? Sell Independence Hall in Philly along with the Liberty Bell. Plow up Gettysburg. There are parks, statues, cemeteries, etc. all over the DC metro area. Get rid of them.

Howie knows best!

CUvinny January 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

At least there is no mention of how FEMA corps (all of who are 20 somethings who couldn’t get a job) are going to put all of America into containment camps when Obama become supreme dictator.

Had enough of that over the holidays.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

No…you’re right…they’ll just get put on Lifetime Welfare…since your god and savior has failed to find any jobs, or any plan to repair the economy he’s destroyed….

junior justice January 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Be forewarned – you may be getting too close to his secret agenda.

BigT January 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Why would it be secret?..Dumb F%&ks like you would be fine to take a check from the government, while you J*&k off and blame er’body else because you’re a piece of worthless $#!*…

That’s called being a Liberal….

junior justice January 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I can spell better than you, and I can properly construct an entire sentence.

Old Bike Dude January 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Something tells me Howie won’t be a big fan of the new SecDef.

Our States United January 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Please go see our efforts and message on our Facebook site.


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