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Katrina Ushers in Return of Big Government
September 15, 2005 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Katrina Ushers in Return of Big Government We have a larger govt now (people working for the govt) than we have ever had. We have now the Patriot Act, overseeing much of our activities. We have intelligence agencies doing lord knows what domestically, and security checks etc. Now we learn that Big govt is back? Where had it been before the storm?
posted by Postroad (43 comments total)

 
I was talking with my (American) stepmom about the inept government reaction to Katrina and she said "Whenever the US government looks inept, watch out. It's a strategy." She thinks the slow reaction to the disaster was to further incite fear in the populace, and show them just how reliant they are on the government. Letting things get out of control and then sending in the troops was to prepare the residents for living in a police state.

I don't know if I take it quite as far as she does, but I can see her point.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:26 PM on September 15, 2005


"Big government," whatever the hell that means to the tax cut jihadists, hasn't gone anywhere under the supreme leadership of the Republicans they worship. Tax cuts? Sure*. Spending cuts? Hell no, that might interfere with their electoral prowess. Fuck that.

People that buy the shit currently coming from the mouths of Republicans are extremely naive. They've proven to make even the average politician blush with their unabashed lies.

And Delay has officially declared that the US government is running at peak efficiency, and there is nothing left to cut.

(Assuming you call a loan, with interest, given to you as a "tax cut" as an actual cut in government. All of the tax cuts handed out by Republicans over the last few years will be repaid, with interest. The idea is to make the top 1-5% not pay them back, and the bottom 95%+ pay more back than they got, plus interest. If you don't cut spending when you cut taxes, you've done nothing but charge tax payers more for the same goods and services. This plain fact seems to be lost on much of the American right).
posted by teece at 2:28 PM on September 15, 2005


arcticwoman, does your mom have some extra room in her bunker for me and my little family?
posted by fenriq at 2:28 PM on September 15, 2005


"It is inexcusable for the White House and Congress to not even make the effort to find at least some offsets to this new spending," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "No one in America believes the federal government is operating at peak efficiency and can't tighten its belt."

DeLay believes...

DeLay declares 'victory' in war on budget fat

It seems more and more apparent: Democrats spend and Republicans spend. It's just a matter of who gets the money. Fiscal conservatism is dead or dying in the modern conservative movement.
posted by mania at 2:33 PM on September 15, 2005


Tom DeLay: "Mission accomplished!"
posted by grouse at 2:41 PM on September 15, 2005


ArcticWoman, where are you?
posted by etaoin at 2:41 PM on September 15, 2005


so, a region is totally destroyed by a disaster unparalleled in a generation, and a bunch of Republicans want to use the devastation as an laboratory for their ideology. Didn't we already try this with the Coalition Provisional Authority?
posted by Vetinari at 2:46 PM on September 15, 2005


Articwoman: I have a friend who believes the opposite about the strategy of the party in power. He believes they have been following a plan of appearing utterly useless so that more Americans will start to say "Why do we have a government anyway? They're useless! Let's get rid of it!" A majority who comes to believe that government is incapable of solving any social problem would, in the end, support the further reduction of federal powers and increase the responsibilities of state and local government. According to this line of reasoning.
posted by Miko at 2:48 PM on September 15, 2005


"Big government," whatever the hell that means to the tax cut jihadists, hasn't gone anywhere under the supreme leadership of the Republicans they worship.

Mmm-hmm. We "tax cut jihadists" just love the Bush administration.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:49 PM on September 15, 2005


If almost a third were under the poverty line than they clearly haven't been paying much in taxes. Why then should my taxes go to pay for them? Clearly the burden should be borne by the faith based community who are on the scene.
They knew what they were getting into when they bought their tickets, I say: Let 'em crash.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080339/
posted by Smedleyman at 3:01 PM on September 15, 2005


th
posted by Smedleyman at 3:02 PM on September 15, 2005


articwoman, your American stepmom is lying to you. Everyone knows there never was a hurricane Katrina just there was no moon landing. This "disaster" was created by a secret studio outside of Hollywood and broadcast by the state controlled media. Katrina "evacuees" are being paid with debit cards for their cooperation. Unfortunately I can't reveal how I know this because our conversations are being monitored by Fox News which secretely runs Al Jazeera and the World Bank.
posted by StarForce5 at 3:02 PM on September 15, 2005


> We have now the Patriot Act, overseeing much of
> our activities.


The Patriot Act doesn't oversee anything. It authorizes various government agencies to oversee many of our activities.
posted by spincycle at 3:06 PM on September 15, 2005


Mmm-hmm. We "tax cut jihadists" just love the Bush administration.

Yes, Kwanstar, there are tax cut jihadists that have been unhappy with Bush. (And yes, tax cut jihadist is an intentionally incendiary term, as it's a bankrupt idea). But those tax cutters that have disapproved openly of the Republican party are few and far between. What's Norquist have to say about it? Or those Club for Growth billionaires? Funny that they would support a "big government" guy like Bush (or Reagan, for that matter), but they do, and they are not the only ones. My Grandfather and Father, as well as all the of the chattering guys on Fox and AM radio seem to buy into it, too.

There are many, many, folks that vote Republican that seem to buy the "small government" bullshit Republicans sling, even when all empirical evidence contradicts it.
posted by teece at 3:09 PM on September 15, 2005


arcticwoman: "She thinks the slow reaction to the disaster was to further incite fear in the populace"

Your mother has never sat in the DMV for hours on a slow day, midweek, midmonth. The government response on all levels to Katrina is what I would grade as average, what you should realistically expect regardless of which party is in the executive chair.

"Letting things get out of control and then sending in the troops was to prepare the residents for living in a police state."

That is granting the federal bureaucracy far more intelligence than they can muster. The major benefit of working for the federal government is not the pay, but the number of days off each year; the retirement system is a distant second. There is and always has been a major disconnect between the politically appointed agency heads and the permanent staff.
posted by mischief at 3:23 PM on September 15, 2005


Your mother has never sat in the DMV for hours on a slow day, midweek, midmonth. The government response on all levels to Katrina is what I would grade as average,

Um, only, except... do you really think our expectations of the DMV and the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be the same? If it takes you 2 hours in line to get your license renewed, how many people die? Disaster management should be one of the highest priorities of the Federal government -- in fact, as a subset of National Security, it supposedly is, or at least that's what we're told on a daily basis.

That is granting the federal bureaucracy far more intelligence than they can muster.

Well, ok, I agree with you there. Never attribute to malice, etc.
posted by jlub at 3:39 PM on September 15, 2005


Your mother has never sat in the DMV for hours on a slow day

The DMV is a state level agency... and leave his mother out of this.
posted by psmealey at 4:12 PM on September 15, 2005


"Returns"? The government is bigger then it ever has been in the past. Ain't deficit spending grand?
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on September 15, 2005


DMV around here takes 15 minutes max.
posted by delmoi at 4:16 PM on September 15, 2005


GWB did not propose cutting the budget of a single government program in either of his presidential campaigns. Anyone who's surprised that Republicans are no longer the party of small government hasn't been paying attention for at least the last 10 years.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:33 PM on September 15, 2005


jlub: No, I don't think expectations should be the same, but at the same time, a bureaucracy is a bureaucracy, regardless whether it is federal, state or local. The mindset of the day-to-day staff is the same. A political appointee can be fired (or asked to resign) for incompetence, but just try to do the same with someone lower in the hierarchy.

In fact, once all the dust has settled, I would not be surprised to learn Michael Brown's downfall was as much sabotage on the part of his staff that got out of control as it was his own ineptness.

Putting your faith in the government is the same as praying to some god. Your time is better spent covering your own ass.
posted by mischief at 5:01 PM on September 15, 2005


If there is no more government fat to cut and they are at peak efficiency...
Wouldn't it be logical then to raise taxes to eliminate the defecit and start paying off the debt?
posted by Dillenger69 at 5:37 PM on September 15, 2005


Keynes to Hayek, "Fuck the truth, as long as we can spin it the commanding heights are mine."

Hayek to Keynes, "I loved you in stagflation but do we really need a sequel?"
posted by 517 at 5:48 PM on September 15, 2005


When are people going to realize this: Bush is NOT a conservative.

He spends spend spends. He spends treasury, he spends life, he spends our futures, and he spends his time loafing and oafing about his ranch like he's some Downs syndrome kid at mountain bike summer camp.

He EVEN spends (or declares he is going to) his "political capital". My god is that telling. As any good conservative, or any capitalist, can tell you:

You Invest Capital - you don't SPEND it!

Where does he conserve? What does he conserve? Values? Bullshit. My god he makes Buchanan - or CLINTON - look like principled traditional conservatives by comparison.

Barry Goldwater is rolling over in his grave.

I pointed this out to my conservative friends and they just shrug and go "Yeah, I know..." Yet they STILL repeat the "Tax and Spend" mantra when critiquing local politicians like that amounts to two gnat shits on a dust speck when compared to the bloated federal pork called HLS.
posted by tkchrist at 5:59 PM on September 15, 2005


I'm up in Canadia, I am not a "him" (hence the arcticwoman and I think I agree with Miko's friend. Although, the argument that they don't have the intelligence to have a strategy is pretty compelling too.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:58 PM on September 15, 2005


I'm still a little freaked out. Bush actually made sense. It's like he understood what he was saying. I didn't even laugh at him.

I think the Bushies are terrified. Their approval ratings are low, and probably going to get worse unless they can rebrand themselves. It was a great performance. I doubt, though, that Bush will really change.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:02 PM on September 15, 2005


Smedleyman at 6:01 PM: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080339/

You mean http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120696/
posted by kika at 8:15 PM on September 15, 2005


There are three ways to cover the 200 Billion plus dollars that the Federal Government is claiming is needed to rebuild after the hurricane:

a) repeal the tax cuts
b) cut out the spending elsewhere-- such as the Iraq War
c) borrow, borrow, borrow

Guess which method the Bush administration will use.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:23 PM on September 15, 2005


d) increase tariffs on seafood
posted by mischief at 8:25 PM on September 15, 2005


how will bush justify (let alone pay for) a sure to be request for some 20, 30 or even more billions for iraq?
posted by robbyrobs at 8:29 PM on September 15, 2005


e) increase taxes on gas
f) give more subsidies to major oil companies
g) do fuckall about rebuilding after Katrina and shift the burden onto the states
posted by Talanvor at 8:58 PM on September 15, 2005


"And Delay has officially declared that the US government is running at peak efficiency, and there is nothing left to cut."

....if you believe that, then you just don't get sarcasm when you hear it. Reading it in an article might lead one to believe he has lost his mind but hearing it, it was obviously a joke. Since no Senators/Congressmen on either side of the isle are offering up their pork to be cut, Delay was mocking them; not that he has room to, he just was.

"how will bush justify (let alone pay for) a sure to be request for some 20, 30 or even more billions for iraq?"

He won't. No justification is needed as to argue that point is unAmerican (you should have learned that from the Iraq debacle). Pay for it? Why pay for it when you just can tack it onto the growing deficit? It's like fuckin' Monopoly money to this guy.

And tkchrist, I do believe you hit it on the head. Bush and cronies are NOT conservatives...not even a little bit. Never have been and based on tonights speech, have no intention of going back to it. They've had a taste of big government, and they like it. Maybe Bush and the Dems aren't so far off afterall.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:58 PM on September 15, 2005


Maybe Bush and the Dems aren't so far off afterall.

Um, well yes, they are. Just because Bush is not a conservative, does not mean he is anything like a Democrat. Bush is a reactionary radical. He's mildly socially authoritarian but majorly economically libertarian, but also quite willing to be whatever the hell the polls tell him to be. The average Democrat is economically anti-libertarian but socially libertarian. IOW, the opposite of Bush.

Dems don't generally cut taxes just for the fun of it. Again, and again, and again. Dems don't appoint loggers and miners as the head of the EPA, or believe the right to privacy is an illusory one, or that all regulation of business is evil. The differences between whatever the hell Bush is and the average Democrat are pretty damn big.

Bush is not a conservative mainly because that term is horribly misused in American politics. The problem with Bush is that he's just a horrible president, and unwilling to stand up for "conservative" (in American parlance) ideas if it looks like it might hurt him at the polls. See: spending cuts, medicare drug benefits, Department of Homeland Security, stem cell straddle, etc.
posted by teece at 10:31 PM on September 15, 2005


"govt"?
posted by Kiell at 1:46 AM on September 16, 2005


It's short for "gubmint"
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:58 AM on September 16, 2005


Fiscal conservatism is dead or dying in the modern conservative movement.
posted by mania at 2:33 PM PST on September 15 [!]


The "modern" movement was still born. I believe Bush called it "Voodoo economics".
posted by rough ashlar at 6:39 AM on September 16, 2005


n.b. that this is the anti Big Government of clerks, book-keepers and middlemen existing to preside over the transfer of the 'commons' into the private sector.

This seems to bear some resemblance to Margaret Thatcher's project in the mid-to-late '80's, but not being British, I'm not aware of the particulars. Are there any Anglo-centric historians who'd care to make a proper comaparison?
posted by vhsiv at 6:56 AM on September 16, 2005


What everyone neglects here is that tax cuts without spending cuts are always good politics. The generation currently in power get money in their pocket at their children's expense. When it comes right down to it, people only claim they care about the next generation. Most people don't think twice about letting their children pay for their tax cut party. Maybe if young people weren't so fucking stupid and actually VOTED against the people who want to take money out of their pocket, they wouldn't be in this mess.

That said, in Canada, the federal Liberal government consistently runs surpluses and pays down debt. This could change if the Conservatives in their current incarnation ever come to power; I'm willing to bet it would.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:10 AM on September 16, 2005


A large professional force with mobilized tools, resources and specialized man power and little desire to profit and answerable to the rule of law. Comes in pretty handy. The Army. Firemen. Government. Funny about that.

I could never understand the blind hated of this fundamental institution of civilization.

And the much hated bureaucracy, as frustrating as it can be, is one of those checks that keeps the institution from being too powerful and oppressive.

I'm a big fan of civilization and government.
posted by tkchrist at 10:27 AM on September 16, 2005


"the much hated bureaucracy, as frustrating as it can be, is one of those checks that keeps the institution from being too powerful and oppressive."

Because goodness knows you can't get them to do anything (like begin mobilizing for a potential disaster) until someone upstairs gives them a good kick in the ass.
posted by mischief at 10:55 AM on September 16, 2005


I could never understand the blind hated of this fundamental institution of civilization.

I'm not so much afraid of civilization per se as I am of hierarchy. Hierarchy fundamentally opposes individual autonomy.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:05 AM on September 16, 2005


Actually arcticwoman's step-mom's theory makes more sense than Miko's. Case in point, 9/11. After being unable to prevent an attack on NYC and the Pentagon, what happened? Sweeping new powers were granted to the federal national government, in the name of preventing such occurrences in the future, and the public ate it up. This could definitely be an attempt to gain even more power.
posted by knave at 1:26 PM on September 16, 2005


How will they pay for the rebuilding? The same way they pay for everything. Print more money.
posted by knave at 1:29 PM on September 16, 2005


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