Red Cross not "in" New Orleans; maybe not as bad as it sounds
Thanks to Cafe Hayek for pointing out that the Red Cross was not "in New Orleans".
While such stories, and particularly stories about the government preventing private rescues, make me even more convinced that the government is too political to be useful (or at least as useful as private organizations), there may be somewhat less than meets the eye here.
On the Red Cross's web site when they answer the question "Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?", they do not seem disturbed by the decision not to let them into the city itself: "Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city."
While I don't necessarily agree with the logic, nor do I necessarily care whether relief might keep people from evacuating, at least it doesn't sound like the worst sort of government ego - trying to show it can handle the job without help - as I had expected when reading the headline.
On the other hand, when the analysis is done of this mess over the next months and years, I trust that sort of ego and turf-protection, by the local governments more than the Federal government, is exactly what we'll find.
There are few legitimate purposes for government. Massive disaster relief like this is probably one of them. Yet government continues to show why we should count on them for as little as possible.
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