The free market played a crucial role in the destruction of New Orleans and the death of thousands of its residents. Forewarned that a momentous (force 5) hurricane was going to hit that city and surrounding areas, what did officials do? They played the free market.
They announced that everyone should evacuate. Everyone was expected to devise their own way out of the disaster area by private means, just like people do when disaster hits free-market Third World countries.
It is a beautiful thing this free market in which every individual pursues his or her own personal interests and thereby effects an optimal outcome for the entire society. Thus does the invisible hand work its wonders in mysterious ways.
In New Orleans there would be none of the collectivistic regimented evacuation as occurred in Cuba. When an especially powerful hurricane hit that island in 2004, the Castro government, abetted by neighborhood citizen committees and local Communist party cadres, evacuated 1.5 million people, more than 10 percent of the country’s population. The Cubans lost 20,000 homes to that hurricane---but not a single life was lost, a heartening feat that went largely unmentioned in the U.S. press.
The free market played a role in other ways. Bush’s agenda is to cut government services to the bone and make people rely on the private sector for the things they might need. So he sliced $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. Plans to fortify New Orleans levees and upgrade the system of pumping out water had to be shelved.
Army Corps of Engineer personnel had started work to build new levees several years ago but many of them were taken off such projects and sent to Iraq. In addition, the president cut $30 million in flood control appropriations.Bush took to the airways (“Good Morning America” 1 September 2005) and said “I don’t think anyone anticipated that breach of the levees.” Just another untruth tumbling from his lips.
Monday, September 05, 2005
The following is from a piece by Michael Parenti which was published on ZNet on September 3rd:
Posted by Shane at 9:56 AM