Thursday, September 08, 2005
Doers vs. RegulatorsNearly everyone is unhappy with the response to Katrina. While Republicans can point to fields of flooded buses in New Orleans and Democrats can point to a slow response by the Bush administration, it seems to me that that's not the most important duality.
The horror stories coming out of New Orleans are not evidence of conflict between Republicans and Democrats or between liberals and conservatives -- much less between blacks and whites -- but between Doers and Regulators.Consider the devastating story, widely blogged, of a thousand highly trained first responders being given sexual harassment training in Atlanta while people were dying a few hundred miles to the southeast. Can there be any doubt that some FEMA bureaucrat -- a Regulator -- realized that there was a regulation on the books that everyone in FEMA had to undergo such training? And can there be any doubt that the firefighters, paramedics, and rescue workers -- all Doers -- would much rather have been saving lives that fulfilling bureaucratic requirements?
Government attracts Regulators, not Doers. It hardly matters whether they're Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, gay or straight, Christian or atheist -- folks who like to do useful and interesting things have limited patience with bureaucracy. That's why, for instance, we lose so many young teachers -- they might love the work of teaching, but they are driven away by the paperwork and the (over-) regulation.And this, finally, is why conservatives have not made the inroads in the culture of government that their electoral dominance would suggest. Anyone who stays in an office -- elected, appointed, or hired -- for more than a few years is guaranteed to be a Regulator: an enemy of common sense and flexibility. The government will never be run on conservative principles so long as the Regulators' butts are stuck in the majority of the seats in government offices.
This is the real lesson of Katrina: Regulation kills. And so long as the Regulators are doing the investigating, reforming, and restructuring of FEMA, regulation will kill again.
posted by vepxistqaosani 8:54 PM