Friday, September 16, 2005

New Orleans speech

There are two things I took out of President Bush's speech last night. One is that he is personally going to lead the national effort to get the Gulf Coast back on its feet again. The other is that no cost is too great to ensure that his reputation is restored.

The President also talked about increasing the role and power of the federal government in times of disaster. "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice".

Maybe this is warranted. It seems many Americans are not that worried about the demarcation between state and federal authority. Fine.

So, why no acknowledgement that the federal government is overstretched? Just as it is clear that a "challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority" it is equally clear that federal government is too distracted by things that do not require federal authority.

If states are going to relinquish authority in times of crisis, such as major hurricanes, then surely they should take back full authority in other areas of policy such as education or health.