So Hubba-hubba and I have been having some very interesting conversations about the role and responsibility of government, with particular reference to the response (or lack thereof) to Hurricane Katrina. While admitting that FEMA, or whatever it is they now call themselves after being folded into Homeland Security, did not do a very good job, he still believes that it is the primary responsibility of the local and state authorities to prepare and execute disaster plans. I, on the other hand, feel that that I pay taxes for FEMA and it had better get in there quickly and do what it is designed to do, which is provide relief to disaster victims.
Again, I don't think anyone disagrees that the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was unacceptable. However, I think it boils down to an interestingly "Republican" versus "Democrat" view.
From what I gather from Hubba-hubba's opinions as a Republican, the federal government is sort of a last resort. All the social programs should be left to the local and state governments, if they even want them. Let the states decide what they want to have, and leave the federal government out of most of it. Medicaid, Medicare, even Social Security should not be under the auspices of federal control. Bascially, laissez-faire at its most laissez.
From my Democrat point of view, the federal government should be a model of responsibility towards its citizens. We pay for the government to protect us, and protect us it should. The above-mentioned programs are good, they could use some tweaking perhaps, but the basic essence of assistance when in need remains.
I am thinking that neither model is perfect. In its desire to be all things to all people, the government has become a strange creature with multiple brains and appendages that don't always know what its other parts are doing ninety percent of the time. For the "bare bones" government, it would probably be too bare, hesitating to step in, even when needed. There would be too much self-interest involved on the state level, and leaving things mostly to the states would be disastrous, in my opinion.
So, I'm all for the complete overhauling of our system of government? Anybody got some paper and pencils? I might even be willing to make a pot of coffee for this project...