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September 1, 2005

Bush's Mismanagement of FEMA

-- by Gary Boatwright

Hat tip to Kevin Drum, FEMA Then And Now:

Kevin links to a story on Bush's mismanagement of FEMA that ran in the Independent Weekly last September: Disaster In The Making

Kevin Drum's summary:

There's much, much more in this deeply reported story. Read the whole thing to get a sickening sense of the disastrous effect that the Bush administration's glorification of conservative ideology over managerial competence has had on FEMA's workforce, its morale, and its ability to get things done.

An excerpt to whet your appetite for more:

Among emergency specialists, "mitigation" — the measures taken in advance to minimize the damage caused by natural disasters — is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives and cut recovery costs.

But since 2001, key federal disaster mitigation programs, developed over many years, have been slashed and tossed aside. FEMA's Project Impact, a model mitigation program created by the Clinton administration, has been canceled outright.

....[In 2001], President Bush appointed a close aide, Joe Allbaugh, to be the agency's new director....The White House quickly launched a government-wide effort to privatize public services, including key elements of disaster management. Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001 conference: "The general idea — that the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure that they are provided — seems self-evident to me," he said.

In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management," he said.
"Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."

Posted by Gary Boatwright at September 1, 2005 3:36 AM

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Comments

How about the New York Times' latest editorial? Waiting for a Leader?

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/090105Z.shtml

Maybe people will finally get that this guy is just plain clueless and immune to reality?

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2005 10:38 AM

Maybe people will finally get that this guy is just plain clueless and immune to reality?

I doubt it. (Plus, it's not the guy, it's the total dominance of corporate power. In a way, it'll be counterproductive if people blame the guy. Then they'll be bamboozled for another 30 years that they don't have to fundamentally change the system.)

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2005 12:27 PM

ARRRGH!

It's their own damn fault that they didn't whip out the yellow pages and start hiring their own disaster assistance before they got in trouble.

Government is now A PRIVATE AFFAIR it's only true function should be to distribute pork to a few well connected folks and their clients.

Posted by: grannyinsanity [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2005 2:23 PM

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