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Sandy: Katrina Redux?

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  • various other pro-corporate ideas; Heritage and similar right-wing groups want them made permanent.

Watch for similar schemes promoted now. Some already surfaced. The Heritage Foundation criticized a New York Times editorial headlined "A Big Storm Requires Big Government."

It called it "a shameless attempt to politicize" Sandy. The Times grossly exaggerated Obama administration federal disaster aid. New York coastal area residents got little.

Two weeks after Sandy struck, hundreds of thousands lack power, heat, and other public services. Cost-cutting, under-investment, poor infrastructure, and indifference bear responsibility.

One report called Staten Island "the forgotten Borough." Residents say it closer to hell than any of them ever saw. A local firefighter called the island "a dump." An area nurse said people will die from lack of heat and proper shelter.

Another resident asked "where's FEMA or the Red Cross? Down here, it's people helping people." The Times claimed Obama restored FEMA to "working order." Neglected New Yorkers haven't seen it.

Heritage, of course, wants most government functions privatized. Other than major disasters, it wants no federal involvement post-"tornadoes, fires, floods, snowstorms, severe storms," and similar events having "no national impact."

FEMA "lacks key capabilities," said Heritage. Budget cuts and federal disinterest explain why. Obama wants FY 2013 disaster relief cut by $1 billion. 

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Part of what's cut he wants allocated to state and local programs. They're also cutting back. Most functions face reductions. Budget-cutting is de rigueur nationwide.

On October 31, The Citadel visiting scholar in entrepreneurship Russell Sobel headlined "The Free Market Can Do a Better Job," saying:

FEMA and other federal initiatives don't work. At issue is "central planning. Fixing disaster relief is simple:" privatize, privatize, privatize. Business works better than government so let it.

"Government should stick to law enforcement and major public works repairs."

Sobel advocates regulatory-free, tax incentivized free trade zones. So-called NGOs also have a role, he says. Most profiteer for themselves. They're predators, not humanitarians.

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Nearly all have entrenched bureaucracies. Their officials are highly paid. Their operating rules are secret. Their financing sources and amounts aren't disclosed.

They all claim non-profit status, yet operate unethically. They collude with governments or business interests. They profiteer handsomely, own unrelated businesses, and exploit people they claim to serve. 

Government should get largely out of the way, says Sobel. It should protect law and order, deregulate prices, secure property rights, decentralized markets, and let business operate freely.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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