Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary
Leftist commentators are lamenting and criticizing the Bush administration’s failure to “rebuild” New Orleans and are even comparing the failure to its failure to “rebuild” Iraq.
It is truly amazing to see that no matter how many times socialism fails, socialists never lose their hope that just one time socialism will finally succeed. And no matter the failure, they always have faith that if only “their” plan — or some other central plan — had been tried, the scheme would have worked.
And that’s what they’re saying about New Orleans. If only Bush had appointed a more competent person to oversee the rebuilding, all would be well today. If only Bush had sent more federal money sooner, all would be well today. If only there was not so much bureaucratic red tape, all would be well today.
That’s precisely the mindset that has guided liberals (in the corrupted, big-government, socialist sense of the term) ever since the New Deal era. No matter which socialist failure — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, etc. — it was all just a matter of having put the “wrong” people in charge and not throwing enough taxpayer money at the problem.
Attention, socialists: No matter how much taxpayer money had been spent in New Orleans, no matter which central plan had been adopted, no matter which bureaucrats had been put in charge, it still would have been a failure. Why? Because as we have learned all over the world, time and time again, socialism can never succeed because, as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek showed, socialism is inherently defective.
So, what would have been the best solution for New Orleans? The federal, state, and local governments should have adopted the following policies:
1. No government grants, subsidies, or loans.
2. Exempt all residents of New Orleans from federal, state, and local taxes.
3. Suspend all building regulations and permit requirements.
4. Suspend all controls on economic activity, including minimum-wage laws and occupational-licensure laws.
The implementation of those policies would have given rise to an immediate outburst of positive economic activity that would still be revitalizing New Orleans today. In fact, if those policies had been adopted, President Bush and other officials would not have to be begging people to move back to New Orleans because countless Americans would be rushing to move there.
But of course, liberals (and, well, for that matter, many conservatives) would hate that solution because it entails individual liberty, free markets, and limited government rather than collectivism, control and regulation, socialistic central planning, and omnipotent government.