As a distraction from that Sully fella, I give you the “director of MyGovCost.org, a project of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute” and “the Searle visiting assistant professor of Political Science at Duke University“, Emily C. Skarbek & David Skarbek, explaining why “It’s Time to Get Rid of FEMA“:
In the last two weeks, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake and Hurricane Irene both rocked the East Coast. Immediately, politicians began touting the crucial role that FEMA would play in rebuilding these communities and the need for federal disaster response. However, these presumptions are largely based on the misguided notions that the federal government can redirect necessary resources efficiently and that private enterprise is incapable of getting the job done. Contemporary and historical evidence show that neither of these assumptions is justified.
Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum agree that FEMA’s work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was a spectacular failure. […] __
The historical record for disaster response in the absence of FEMA and a centralized federal operation also attests to the ability for private enterprise to provide more efficient relief more effectively. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, one of the most devastating disasters in the 19th century, is a particularly compelling example. The fire killed hundreds of people, left one third of the city burned to the ground, and over a hundred thousand people homeless. FEMA was not there to direct the emergency response, and, in fact, because there was no income tax, people had no charitable tax-deduction incentive to give.
Despite the complete absence of federal aid, historians have documented how remarkably swift and extensive the relief effort was after the Great Chicago Fire. Donations from businesses, individuals, voluntary associations, and aid from small municipal governments arrived immediately and funded the entire recovery effort. A private charitable organization, the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, managed all of the contributions and coordinated the massive effort. Within a month after the fire, the Society built homes from scratch for over 30,000 people — complete with stoves, crockery, and bedding. Over the course of the following year, the Society supplied over 150,000 people with weekly rations, including fuel and fresh beef, administered over 70,000 free small pox vaccinations, assisted people in finding employment, and provided free transportation on the railroads for people seeking to relocate…
Shorter Skarbeks: Since it’s been proven that people who hate functional government will screw up government programs, how about you catastrophic luzers settle for a lovely Wal-Mart gift card and a one-way bus ticket to some coastal enclave where they haven’t yet realized that all taxation is theft? It worked out pretty well a century and a half ago, as far as we can tell, or care…
Glibertarians! — can’t live with ’em, can’t responsibly allow them to live in the kind of winner-take-all dystopias they so love to yammer about. Or, rather, force the rest of us to live in those dystopias, with the HOA enforcing shoot-to-kill security outside the gated communities of Galt Gulch and St. Ayn’s Haven.
Then again, it’s been well over a century since our country had an entire city burn to the ground after a cow kicked over a lantern. Are we lucky, or has there been some other major societal change?
Oh yeah, governments began issuing strict building standards and began funding these things we call “Fire Departments”, both of which are in reality a means for the government to restrict freedom.
Wait, one of these brain-dead idiots is teaching at Duke? I thought Duke was a good school.
My question is, what the fuck would they actually do with this vaunted freedom they aspired to? I mean besides hide in their closet with a shot gun terrified of marauders?
Maraud around with shotguns terrifying ordinary citizens.
A Mom Anon
One,none of these freaking nutbars would want to actually live in the society they envision. They’re full of shit. People should follow them around,point,and laugh. Daily.
Two,one of my best teachers in school always taught me to ask”and then what?”whenever I thought I had a great idea and to keep following that question. This was in the THIRD grade. For some reason Galtians can’t muster the mental energy to do that. I double dog dare one of them to EVER just keep asking that question,and be fucking realistic and coherent. Dare them.
Holy cow. (ba-dum-ching!)
Seriously, these are some seriously demented Luddites we’re dealing with here. Nice that they 1) used the example of Le Juge Spectacle Équestre re Katrina to make this argument and 2) made no mention of any similar failures for either the earthquake OR Irene.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
I love that its considered a good sign that they forced lots of people onto trains to relocate. Yeah. That’s some great disaster relief planning right there.
Villago Delenda Est
This just screams pretentious asshattery. In flashing pink neon.
Villago Delenda Est
There you go, bringing all those damned liberal facts into the debate, again.
Tradition or historical practices can be a good thing; however, just because something (relief aid) was done one way in the past does not mean that it can not be changed to something else in the future/present. An example for this would be the recent tornado season which saw several towns completely destroyed. What local resources would be able to be used in the case where all the churches (frequently cited as an organizing entity and leader in charity) in a town were destroyed, along with the whole commercial sector? When even the neighbors are reduced to nothing, where and how can the work begin to rebuild? And if several of these incidents happen at the same time, don’t the people need outside aid? Coordinated aid from FEMA means that time isn’t (or won’t) be wasted trying to put the pieces together.
These authors just don’t want to pay taxes to help their fellow citizens. (Or themselves if their home is ever wiped out by an act of god/nature or Force majeure. Their insurance company won’t pay them a thin dime.)
Hard to see how one would allow a bright young person to study at a school like Duke if this is the calibre of thinker that might be allowed to teach there.
If I want hackery, there’s always the Christian Broadcast Network School.
Ya know, 4,000 years ago a great flood washed over the ENTIRE EARTH, and ya know who helped everybody right away with food and shelter an’ ponies and stuff? God, that’s who. Which proves EVERYTHING. So there.
Sorry for the extended quote, but it’s worth it. Here is what the Encyclopedia of Chicago had to say about the charity in question—not exactly the fount of all blessings:
Right-wing professors singing the praise of xenophobic “charities.”
Color me surprised.
You dare to present facts in the face of Glibertarian dogma?
One needs to believe that the Chicago Fire proves the point my friend.
They make a game out of this….there is no institution, taboo or moral intuition that they can not take down (to their own smug self-satisfaction, at least) with a dose of contrarianism and free-marketism, and light-weight pseudo-intellectual bombast.
Oy, fcku me, I hate these people.
Thank you, dear sweet Anne, for not putting up a sully link.
@Villago Delenda Est:
No they could do better. Maybe add a few “freedoms” and “liberties.”
How about the Freedom Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Liberty Institute of America. And their logo better be adorned with American flags and the head of a bald eagle, a species that would be extinct were it not for the very government efforts they now claim are killing “job creators” and crushing innovation.
I’m over the nutbags.
Punched it up a bit for ya.
Wait, one of these brain-dead idiots is teaching at Duke? I thought Duke was a good school.
This is a guy who has a temporary desk in a multi-person office while he collaborates on a paper with another professor and teaches a class or two for a semester. He’s leveraging “Duke” to make himself sound important. It’s like calling himself “A scientist at IBM” because he came in for a month on contract to tweak the database of a research group.
I really hate when people do this. I don’t use any temp jobs I’ve had in my titles.
Seriously, this is like the exact same argument a Ron Paul fan was making about getting rid of FEMA. And boy, he was adamant about it, saying things like “I can take care of myself”. Oh, and “I know better than to live in hurricane-prone areas”. This was during Irene. I asked him just when the hell New York City became a “hurricane-prone” area. He couldn’t answer that, and so accused me of not answering why Ron Paul isn’t “TEH AWESOMEST!!!”.
“Wait, one of these brain-dead idiots is teaching at Duke? I thought Duke was a good school.”
Better that they teach at Duke than at that silly place down the road in Chappaheeya. Duke students are smart enough to see through this nonsense. If these people were to teach at Carolina, they would be believed.
@burnspbesq: When you dookies say things like that about Carolina, I feel obliged to remind readers that Nixon and Lefty Driesell are Duke Alums, and that while Jesse Helms regularly referred to UNC “the University of Negroes and Communists” I never heard him go after Duke.
Oh, and for the record, I attended UVA.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
I’ll donate to their plane ticket to Somalia.
@burnspbesq: Might he be one of the Koch professors? They are insinuating them everywhere they can get a toehold.
@honus: What honus said.
Given that David Addington, Elizabeth Dole, Ken Starr, Ron and Rand Paul, Ben Quayle are all dookies, I don’t think you have any room to be casting aspersions regarding the wingnut gullibility of UNC students. In fact, the Entreprenurial Innovation and Flag Liberty Eagle Institute seems to fit better in Durham than the Peoples Republic of Chapel hill.
It’s also funny how Glibertarians don’t mention this as the awesome invisible hand of the free market doing its awesome thing:
“So many people died or fled the epidemics that in 1879 Memphis lost its city charter, and until 1893 Memphis was governed as merely a taxing district.”
C’mon, the “Independent Institute” is nonpartisan! They say so right here: http://www.independent.org/aboutus/
As always with liberals, lots of opinions, but not one person who knows what FEMA is, what it does, or what the structure of disaster response is in this country.
Why not use this subject as an opportunity to actually gain knowledge and be informed?
Can all these bastard Glibertarians just move to Texas this instant, for the glory of all: to life free, armed, and dehydrated?
Gotta love libertarian cherry picking. Galveston, TX, was devastated by a hurricane in 1900, also well before the establishment of FEMA, and never recovered.
A visiting assistant professorship can be a courtesy appointment, to accompany short-term lecturing responsibilities.
Duke’s business school is named the “fuck-you school of business”. OK, well not quite, but almost: it’s the Fuqua School of Business”, but the similarity kind of jumps out at you, doesn’t it?
OT item: “It’s like Washington crossing the Delaware to go to Hooters”
Well since all the survivors were all on one boat, not a lot of relief help was actually needed
And isn’t that a worse desecration of the flag than burning it to make a political point?
@Riggsveda: This is why you start to see the various immigrant benevolent groups start to form, the growth of lodges, and insurance and banking groups that were formed to help immigrants. Think of Jewish Appeals, black-owned insurance companies, and expanded lodges. Don’t even begin to talk about the machine politicians who would hand out turkeys and aid in exchange for a vote, which they usually were able to get.
Je te presente: Emily and David.
Clearly a couple of rugged individualists and survivors, ready to take on all the challenges of the harsh cruel real world once the onus of a social safety net is removed.
Why, Emily even had to wait in line for her latte for a full ten minutes once! And while David has never field-dressed a moose, he’s very good at peeling the wrappers off of Snickers bars.
OK, where do you want your internets?
@Judas Escargot: The token brown guy is a nice touch. It’d be interesting to see what all he’s been allowed to publish, if anything.
A good ‘un on capital gains tax…
@burnspbesq: while support of your alma mater is laudable, you should know better than to paint with broad brushes in this room. I’m sure that there’s more than a couple of douchenozzles that graduated from Chapel Hill, but also fairly confident Durham can add a few of its own. Instead of defending the perfidy, you can let the alumni association folks know that you’re check won’t be in the mail until they stop associating with these fly by nighters?
A fire that burned down a third of Chicago and killed hundreds of people was a triumph of the free market.
And of all these right-wing assholes touting private charity relief, how many do you think have ever made a meaningful contribution to a charity? They want people with more of a conscience than they have to donate money and put in the work, while they contribute nothing.
Anne Laurie if that is youre real name you are trying to distract us from the REAL ISSUE which is that the commie nazi so called President obama is bowing to Republican pressure to make government more responsible to the PEOPLE by having a new website to allow people to petition the goverment but we REAL AMERICANS know it is all a lie it will no doubt be people like you at BJ so called who will petition for a National Recipe Registrationn to make us all eat the same food or for other “policies” you want you never know when to stop do you?
Thanks for the link to the Encyclopedia of Chicago. Looks like it is a respectable site, run in part by Northwestern University.
‘The Relief and Aid Society was one of dozens of sources for charity in Chicago in the mid-nineteenth century; others were run by Cook County, religious groups, ethnic associations, trade unions, and women’s committees. The society functioned on a relatively small scale until the Great Fire of 1871, when Mayor R. B. Mason, at the request of a delegation of prominent businessmen, designated this organization as the “official” agent for the distribution of millions of dollars of “fire relief.”
note: emphasis added
I have one comment: Look at the parts I bolded above. Obviously, whatever the other advantages or disadvantages of their efforts, the ability of the Relief and Aid Society to bring a large quantity of resources to bear on the aftermath of the fire was NOT a spontaneous response of private enterprise or charity.
First, the Chicago County government and trade unions were prominent funders of other relief efforts. Second, the City of Chicago (note: that is a government) sponsored the Society, enabling it to attract needed funds.
So, seems to me that the whole argument that spontaneous action of free enterprise and private charity worked after the Chicago Fire is BS.
Also, as for an informed discussion of what FEMA does. Well, a lot of what it does is to coordinate local and regional public and private first responder and emergency resources that are on call for emergencies.
These resources are mainly human resources, which include local fire and paramedics, and private volunteers (engineers, public health experts, logistics experts, etc).
What FEMA provides is the equipment and pays for the time spent training for the volunteers from the private sector (though not for local public government personnel training).
When an emergency occurs, FEMA coordinates the response, which is necessary since the local teams have different areas of expertise (demolition and construction of short run infrastructure, fire fighting, rescue and recovery, disease control, etc.)
In other words, a lot of what FEMA does is sort of what the City of Chicago did, when it decided to authorize the Relief Agency as the official body in charge of the emergency response.
If there is a possibility of very large emergencies that can overwhelm local governments (as was the case in the SF Earthquake in 1906, or the Great Mississippi Flood, or Katrina) depending on local organizations, public or private, will be useless.
A final comment on the article: in those days, local governments were NOT small. They were bigger, relative to local and regional businesses and corporations and voluntary associations than they are today. Remember, this was the age of big city and country machines.
Also, too, when you read glowing reports of how a city miraculously rose from the ashes back in the day, you need to look into whether the history is true.
City and county governments were more powerful, had more influence with the local press, and more intertwined with local business. News reports were happied up to prevent a recent disaster from hurting the local economic recovery that business and local government leaders desperately needed.
The SF earthquake comes to mind. The absurd estimate that the earthquake and subsequent fire killed less than 400 people is an example. That was an idiotic estimate local leaders pulled out of their ass. They may have gotten it by dividing the probable toll of almost 4,0000 (which was roughly known at the time) by ten.
And of course, that story itself calls into question the idea that local businesses and local governments, are the exemplars of efficiency, honesty and transparency that this column asserts that they are.
I saw no references at all in the column to justify any of its assertions. It was just a string of assertions.
Oops, that 4,0000 above should be 4,000 (though I guess the typo is obvious)
@Wag: And stricter zoning requiements. Buildings have to have a minimum amount of space between them, both sides, front and back. and the adjoining streets have to be a certain width as well. Chimneys have requirements, stoves have requirements.Certain kinds of buildings have to have fire extinguishers and even sprinkler systems. There’s regular trash pickup, so materials that burn can’t accumulate in big dry piles of kindling. Government is responsible for all of these regulations, enforced by fine or even in a few cases, imprisonment. That strictness has not only saved lives, but money, as there are fewer fires to have to put out and fewer people to rescue and fewer businesses that go out of business due to fire.
Glibertarians would have us go back to the days of shoddy building materials and houses back to back with barely enough room for air to get through. Catch-as-catch can garbage collection, so someone who can’t get their garbage collected everyday and can’t take it to the landfill ends up accumulating quite a pile of kindling-a fire in waiting with only luck to keep it from starting.
They think that an elderly 90 year old woman in her falling-apart home can take the garbage to the landfill by herself. That rugged individualism can keep the streets cleaned and fires fought by profit. Even if there’s no profit to be had in situations like rural towns and poor neighborhoods where there’s no profit to be had ever, but where fires could easily spread to the profitable parts of town.
That was my point. thanks for expanding upon it.