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By Alan Caruba
The haunting images of New Orleans were those of a Third World nation unable to cope with a natural disaster. The over-riding question in the first days following the hurricane was “What is the government doing?”
Americans have been conditioned to look to the federal government as the answer to all their needs. The federal government has steadily taken over our education and health care systems through vast programs that, in the former case, has ruined what was once one of the best in the world and, in the latter case, through Medicare and Medicaid, exercises control over the way the system works and who it benefits. Social Security has, for too many, replaced planning and saving for one’s old age.
When a portion of everything you earn is removed from your paycheck in order to pay for someone else’s senior years, how can you be expected to put aside money you don’t have to save, invest or spend as you wish? We have been required to turn personal responsibility for our lives over to “the government.” It sounds good on paper, but the reality is that Social Security is going broke and the interest level in the current administration’s effort to “fix” the system is so low the President’s efforts have been met with a significant measure of indifference.
The “government’s” response to the disaster that befell huge swaths of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama suggests that there are, indeed, limits to what it can do. It is, after all, composed of bureaucrats who must obey the thousands of regulations and laws affecting their agencies and that have been imposed on our national economy, affecting all the rest of us.
One of the first actions “the government” took was the Environmental Protection Agency announcement that it was suspending the idiotic mandates requiring countless different formulations of gasoline to insure that a sufficient supply was available nationwide. In one State after another, these mandates insure that different formulations are required in different areas of the same State.
Mandating the use of ethanol in order to insure a bounty of riches for corn producers while ignoring the need to drill for oil in Alaska or ignoring enormous off-short reserves and shale oil exposes the politics that over-rode the need for greater energy self-sufficiency and independence from a Middle East that largely hates America.
The looting and criminality that occurred in New Orleans also revealed the failure of not just local people, but much of the black community in America to take advantage of the protections and opportunities afforded by the Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation enacted since the 1960s. As Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, pointed out on September 2nd, “New Orleans is two cities, not one, according to census data---a relatively affluent, small, achingly lovely city that’s mostly white, and a poor, big, unlovely city that’s almost all black. Overall, the city is two-thirds African American; it ranks as the ninth-poorest big city in the nation. It is also one of the most violent cities in the country, now making a bid to reclaim the ‘murder capitol’ designation it held for many years.”
This is repeated over and over again in many of the nation’s cities, many of whom are also falling prey to the influx of millions of illegal aliens flooding across our southern border, bringing with them crime and disease, replacing native-born American workers for those jobs they might have had were it not for the low wages the illegals will accept.
The laws fashioned to protect and help blacks have brought about some improvements. A black middle class has emerged, but the evidence demonstrates that too many black Americans opted to remain mired in their own failure to take advantage of educational opportunities, continued to produce the one-parent families in which men were largely absent, and remained responsible for much of the crime in the cities. In return, they offered America a “gangsta rap” and “hip-hop” culture that reflects attitudes immune to the values shared by the majority of Americans. They were not marginalized. They marginalized themselves.
The physical losses in the affected areas will be rebuilt. Americans always rebuild after natural disasters, but the social problems are likely to remain unless and until we begin to shut our borders against what can only be called an invasion and until black Americans fully integrate themselves by taking more responsibility for their lives.
We all need to rely less on the “government”, but it seems unlikely at this point the government will allow that to occur. Congress is too in love with the billions it can seize for countless pork barrel projects “for the folks back home” and to insure reelection. There are too many people dependent on the socialist programs enacted after WWII. The mindless federal spending has been reflected at the state level while, at the same time, federal mandates have eroded state and local power.
We need to vastly reduce the vast matrix of economic regulations that suck billions out of the economy while creating obstacles to free market answers to our most pressing needs and, as in the recent Supreme Court ruling, destroy private property values with a ferocity matched only by natural disasters.
Life in America is going to get more expensive because “the government” claimed it could take care of us from birth to death. It can’t. It never could.
© Alan Caruba, 2005
About the Author
Federal Observer contributor Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", that is posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns designed to influence public policy and opinion.
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