Jefferey Tucker wrote some interesting thoughts last week for Laissez Faire Books on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here is an excerpt below.
Then there’s the aftermath in which government suddenly discovers millions and billions of dollars available to shovel onto the cleanup and rebuilding efforts. Decades of experience show that average people see little of this money. Instead, it goes to government contractors and real estate developers and other preferred groups who are closely connected to politics. The money is taken away from the private sector when it is needed most and transferred to people who waste it on projects that the market may or may not value.
The process to get approved for post-disaster largess causes city and state governments to even delay private cleanup efforts. The political class discovers that it has every reason to make the mess look as bad as possible as long as possible, all in the hope of getting ever more money sent from the capital city to the affected area.
Another tendency is for government to enforce licenses on all service professionals. Want someone to cut down the tree or fix your plumbing or rewire your home? You had better choose someone with a license to do business or you will be in big trouble. Of course, this only discourages an influx of new service providers just when they are needed most.
In general, government sees every emergency has a power-grab opportunity. I get shivers down my spine just reading about FEMA’s wonderful plans to nationalize just about everything should the need present itself. If anyone believes that martial law is out of the question under these conditions, he hasn’t been paying attention to the police-state trends over the past decade. Weapons confiscations? It’s going to happen if conditions get bad enough, as happened in New Orleans during the Katrina disaster.
You can read the rest here.