Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's Aftermath: Who's to Blame?

My heart goes out to those who are injured, sick, homeless, jobless, and hungry in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My heart does not go out to those who helped to make the disaster as vast as it is turning out to be. And who are those culprits?

Let's start with government, which made it possible for people to live in low-lying areas by erecting dikes, levees, and pumping stations -- not at the expense of the direct "beneficiaries" of such facilities but at the expense of taxpayers.

Let's continue with government, which insists on taxing the rest of us so that the victims of disasters such as Katrina can "rebuild their lives and businesses" in the very same vulnerable places.

Let's continue some more with government, which insists on taxing the rest of us to entice residents and businesses to remain in vulnerable areas -- in the name of urban pride and "job creation" -- through various forms of personal and corporate welfare.

And let's end with voters, business owners, labor unions, and others who support the politicians who perpetuate all such government programs because those programs are "humane," "compassionate," or "essential." Those voters, business owners, workers, and others who are victims of Katrina are, in fact, victims of their own willingness to extort taxpayers to pay for inadequate protection against foreseeable disasters, such as major hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. They would make better decisions if they had, instead, to choose between spending their own money for adequate protection from foreseeable disasters or exerting themselves to make a life or run a business out of the reach of such disasters.

Programs such as those I mention above create an expectation that government will take care of people who expose themselves to danger, thus making it likely that people will make decisions that do indeed expose them to danger. The price? Death, disease, homelessness, joblessness, and hunger. And the waste of billiions of dollars of taxpayers' money.

Katrina is just one of the many natural disasters that government, acting at the prompting of voters and other interested parties, has converted to a vast human tragedy. And there will be many more such tragedies, I fear.