Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hey Government! Lets Stop Trying to Prove How Wrong Conservative Theories Really Are

Much of my firm's recent efforts have focused South: to Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, where insurance companies have (as usual) been shirking their responsibilities and compounding the misery caused by Katrina and Rita.

My job is to make them pay their policyholders, particularly when they rely on vague, ambiguous language or ignore reasonable pro-coverage interpretations. This is an important part of getting people and businesses back on their feet, and it is for these kinds of tragedies that people dutifully pay ever-increasing premiums.

Obviously though, insurance is not going to be enough to fix everything. And this is not the sort of thing that private charity or the invisible hand of the market can acceptably answer. When an entire city or region is destroyed, the national government is the only actor in the position to respond and provide for the people who cannot just pull themselves up by the boot-straps, find a way to get back to New Orleans or its environs, find a (safe and noncontaminated) place to live, find a job in a non-existent local economy, and get on with their lives.

Our government (god help us) is going to have to get off its duff and start helping people. Right now, this is not happening. Washington is talking about dollars but noone is talking about what policies will actually get people home, get them homes, and get an economy moving to get them working. A homesteading program is *not* going to cut it. Handing off cost-plus contracts, removing workers' protections, throwing money at corporate America, ignoring the displaced New Orleans Diaspora, these "solutions" are *not* going to cut it. We need massive public works projects to start moving, start employing, and start rebuilding. Yesterday. This laissez-faire nonsense is getting too many people killed and letting too many people suffer; it will not provide succor to the people who most need it, and its high-time that the government remember what its job is and who it is supposed to be responsible to: We the People.

We don't need to drown the government in a bathtub, we need to administer CPR.

Ideally, we need to put people in charge who actually believe that government can do good beyond fending off the King of England, and are interested in serving the People.

The Gulf Coast is still waiting for help.

(photos from Smiley N. Pool/DMN)


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