Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Excuses to expand Federal power

Liberal political opportunists are using natural disasters and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people to expand the authority, power, and budget of the Federal government, even though this level of government is the least effective first response to such disasters.

The first and most obvious reason for the attempt to blame President Bush for Katrina was to deflect criticism from the state and local officials, and to instead inflict political damage on President Bush. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has the primary responsibility for the city of New Orleans, but his response to the hurricane in the days before and immediately after was highly ineffective. Similarly, the Governor Blanco was much more concerned about who to blame than about actually doing her job. But it is the local government who can most effectively respond to a crisis in a timely manner. They have access to the resources which are already there, and they are on the scene to coordinate efforts. If done competently, this is sure to be more effective than direction from Washington DC.

The Constitution, that quaint document that we don't pay attention to any more, delimits the authority and responsibilities of the Federal Government. The Federal Government has absolutely no responsibility to act as a first responder to natural disasters, and even if they wanted to, they don't have the authority except at the request of the affected state. There are very good reasons for this limit of power on the Federal government -- reasons which separate our Republic from dictatorships. It is ironic that the same liberals who accuse President Bush of being a dictator now attack him for not acting like one.

Crisis situations serve as a convenient excuse for brushing aside Constitutional protections of our freedom in the name of relief, and expanding the power of the Federal Government. This expansion can be seen in the Federal response to Rita. Eager to avoid the criticism that they received after Katrina, FEMA established operations bases with hundreds of trucks loaded with food, water, and other relief supplies in the Dallas and San Antonio area. Navy ships loaded with supplies followed Rita to shore, ready to deliver these items. Federal agencies were involved in the evacuation effort, and National Guard troops were on the scene before the hurricane arrived. Fortunately, Rita did not strike a heavily populated area in which local authorities had ignored thirty years of warnings that the flood control system was inadequate to handle a major hurricane. But it is clear that Katrina was used to raise the political expectation for the Federal government to fix our problems.

What bothers me is the President Bush seems to be buying into this shift in responsibility from individuals and local authorities to the Federal Government. After writing a check for a quarter of a trillion dollars (That is trillion with a T) for Katrina recovery, not only did he give a speech in which he accepted responsibility for not doing what he had no responsibility or authority to do, but he is now exceeding his authority in preparing for Rita. I am very aware that even being familiar with the contents of the Unite States Constitution is out of style these days. Liberals like to call it "a living document" which is meant to change and adapt to the times. They always say this right before they trample all over the Constitution. It is true that the Constitution can change and adapt. That is why it defines an amendment process, but liberals don't want to go through the ratification with all that pesky voting, when it is more convenient to just ignore the whole bothersome thing. After all, they know better than the rabble what is good for us. So today, a few liberal poltician's attempt to shift blame for their incompetence is resulting in a huge power grab by the Federal government, which will result in a bigger Federal budget and more Federal taxes, the primary source of power for liberal politicians.

Government expansion is always cloaked in compassion and excused by crisis and urgency, but if it is allow to progress unchecked, it leads us away from the principles which made America free, great, and prosperous.

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