Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

New York Times: death panels for disaster victims

Jerry Stratton, October 30, 2012

The New York Times and other Democratic organizations are already exploiting Hurricane Sandy to get their candidate elected. According to them, Hurricane Sandy shows us why we need Big Government in the form of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But FEMA is not the Big Government they seem to think it is. New York City and the state of New York are already rebuilding before the storm has even disappeared from the radar maps. They can do this because the federal government is not in control of disaster recovery. Local governments—cities and states—are the first responders in the case of emergency. FEMA stands ready to provide resources if needed, but it’s the local governments that are in control.

You don’t have to go back far to see what disaster recovery would look like if the federal government were in control of recovery efforts: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened under federal control in the Gulf of Mexico; it was the federal government’s responsibility to keep the spill from spreading. When Louisiana realized that the Obama administration wasn’t going to act quickly enough to contain the spill, they tried to act on their own, and were actively blocked.

The Coast Guard blocked vessels from sucking up the oil for days because they “needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board”. The EPA blocked Dutch oil skimmers because the way oil skimmers work is to suck in oily water, remove most of the oil from the water and store it for later disposal, and then expel the cleaned water to make room for more oil. But even though the water had literally just come from the ocean and was cleaner now than when it had been in the ocean, it was too dirty to put back into the ocean.

The Dutch oil skimmers alone should have been able to contain the spill if they had been allowed to work efficiently. But the New York Times’s preferred big government was in charge, and so the oil reached the shore.

Imagine if the EPA had right of refusal before New York City could start pumping water from their subways back into the ocean. New York would not be pumping salty ocean water out of the subways yet. Their subways would be out of commission through the holiday season—because the EPA’s intransigence would not just mean delayed pumping, it would mean more corrosion of critical electronics by standing seawater.

Throughout New York City today you’d see frustrated New Yorkers standing around waiting for permission to put their city back together again. Every request to start working would have to go through several federal agencies, any one of which could refuse permission and require the process to start over again. The bureaucrats in charge of permission at each agency wouldn’t be New Yorkers. They’d be in DC or Oklahoma or California, wherever their office happened to be, and they’d send the request back asking for modifications or clarifications, and when the request didn’t make it back because normal channels are broken because there’s a disaster that needs recovery efforts they’d shrug their shoulders and say, I tried, I can’t help it if New York didn’t follow procedures.

“It’s like this huge committee down there,” Alabama Governor Bob Riley said, “and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power.”

That’s what the New York Times is arguing for this morning.

In response to Election 2012: The Long Hot Summer: For election blogging outside of California.

  1. <- Media ignores Warren
  2. Romney-Ryan ->