Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The logic of bad governance

the federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good. For 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. Why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming?
So by proving that government doesn't work, has Mr. Bush furthered his rapturous agenda, or Cheney's?
Some investors believe Katrina will hold the stock market back, as rising oil prices and shipping disruptions hurt corporate profits and economic growth. Others think Katrina actually could help stocks in the longer term, since the rebuilding effort eventually should spur consumption and investment in new equipment. They also see the Fed, at least temporarily, supporting the economy by suspending its campaign of interest-rate increases. WSJ
"this is working very well."

So's this:
"It feels like the only things left in south Louisiana are snakes and alligators," said John Olson, co-manager of Houston Energy Partners, a hedge fund that operates out of a skyscraper downtown. "Houston is positioned for a boom."


Blogger Deleted said...

None of the Bushists really think government is the problem. They love them some Big Gubmint. The bigger the better. What they dislike passionately is adult responsibility and being told their selfishness is wretched. There's no weeping quite like that of a Bushist whose subsidy check is late.

9/06/2005 9:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Nothing wrong with Big Gub as far as they're concerned. So long as it's the paternalistic Father Knows Best type that can't get its dick out of Ken Lay's ass long enough to notice the infrastructure of every USian city is falling to shit.

They love that sort of gubmint, which isn't really any sort of statecraft at all, but rather akin to a larger frat party.

It's all about making "points of light" do the dirty work, except they don't give a rat's ass if it actually gets done (who's tracking it?), so long as it relieves them of the presumption of being responsible for anything other than freedumb on the march.

9/06/2005 11:35 PM  
Blogger Deleted said...

I got some clues, or maybe a small insight is a better way to put it, into the Bushist psyche after reading this essay by Rexroth. The surly Bush in his leather bomber jacket, snapping gum, is rebelling against the liberal hegemony -- still, years after all the kids from his class put away their bongs and forgot about getting in that hippie chick's pants -- even though what he's fighting is nothing more dangerous than competent managerialism.

I get some snarky comfort from this.

9/07/2005 4:29 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Thanks for that ref. If the children of Woodstock have become competent managers, have the children of men in gray flannel suits become charismatics? Bush/Reagan clearly seem to discount mundane, reality-based tasks like research and practical knowledge in favor of leader cultism and sky-based final (nukular) solutions.

9/07/2005 7:32 AM  
Blogger Deleted said...

The flight into angry, violent fecklessness and magical thinking is more upsetting to gray flannel parents than dabbling with a bit of pot or growing hair a little long.

GHW Bush is an awful man, but he's always been able to get things done. He might even have been proud of successfully rebellious son. Instead, he's got four angry cretins, none of whom have accomplished anything unconnected to his name and all of whom have required constant bail out efforts. I can't think of a better argument against aristocracy and nepostism, off hand, than the history of the Bush family.

It's upsetting to the old guard right, too, though not to the extent they'll actually do something. Most of them, I imagine, think they can weather this. The Dem elite pretty clearly think the same way.

9/07/2005 9:54 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

This will no doubt seem simplistic, but what the heck ...

It astonishes me every day thatthere is such a glurgian chanting about the heartfelyt selflessness of tens of thousands of volunteers, the opening of homes, sharing of food and clothes, a righteous celebration of American helpfulness to one's neighbour.

Time, money and human energy ... volunteers shell them out ... but then will demonstarte atthe next election a dedicated revulsion to paying taxes to support infrastructure and the efficient and effective, purposeful work of bureaucracy where it matters. *Bureaucracy* has become a pejorative in the US, just like *liberal* or even worse, *socialist*.

But I will always remember listening to John Ralston Saul speak and hearing him say (not verbatim, but close enough) .. "an effective democracy requires bureaucracy to help everyone .. all the different everyones .. muddle through to something that works more than it works less". He stated .. not suggested .. that in his opinion this is one of Canada's key foundations of wealth creation.

We have more bureaucracy up here than have USians ... but by and large our government services seem to deliver something that works more often than something that doesn't work .. and many of us willing pay a higher level of taxes than in the USA to have access to that privilege.

And I'm guessing here .. but pound for pound, per capita, if one were to trace all the levels of government, the indirect paths of funding and costs, and the services provided, I wouldn't be surprised if our size of overall government is smaller .. and I would also be very willing to admit i am wrong .. but still would be glad to pay the level of taxes that I do.

9/07/2005 11:47 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

Haryy ... your He might even have been proud of successfully rebellious son. Instead, he's got four angry cretins, none of whom have accomplished anything unconnected to his name and all of whom have required constant bail out efforts.

I'd be willing to bet that GHW was by and large an absent father, both physically and emotionally ... always at work and when at home trying to steer clear of Babs' anger. I hadn't thought of it this way more than once or twice, but I think it was Debbie over at WB that pointed out that she had always thought that Junior was demonstrating an amplified version of Poppy's meanness, but now understands differently ... Junior learned all his moves (and his lack of affect) from the venom-splitting cruelty of Mom. He is literally scared shitless of criticism, and will move heaven and earth to wall himself off from it.

She was the one at home, even though the nannies and cooks no doubt did all the work. I imagine she just showed up once or twice a day and commanded or yelled.

Makes sense to me.

9/07/2005 11:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Harry, It might be too soon to know whether 43 will be tarnished by NO. I mean, from an "effects-based" point of view, which is that possessed by at least everyone in real estate, the market will dictate whether Bush's handling of Katrina's aftermath will have been a success or not.

9/08/2005 6:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

A reply, Jon, got lost when my internet connection went down. The little I know about Saul is very appealing. I'd be curious to know what he thinks might account for a functioning bureaucracy. Is it something others can learn, or must we import Canadians to run our government systems? That last bit is not badinage, but a real question.

9/08/2005 8:53 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

1) must we import Canadians to run our government systems? ... will NEVER ever happen ... The USA couldn't (wouldn't ?) even respond to Castro's offer of 1,000 highly trained medicos to help with the current emerging health crisis in the wake of Katrina .. and we up here are pot-smoking, pacifist, gay-marriage lovin' multicultural heathens. NO way !

2) From what I understand, your bandwidth access might be troublesome with regards to viewing this public address (which is what I attended in vancouver, and where I heard Saul outline in some articulate detail the origins and the wisdom of effective bureaucracy supporting and sustaining an arguably perhaps-more-rather-than-less reasonably functioning society, tho' we are far from perfect). There is a section in this video / webcast where he speaks about this Democracy's requirements for honest bureaucracy) in a very eloquent and connect-the-dots-very-nicely-thank-you way.

The specific video/webcast is the 13th one down in the list of 2004 webcasts online at this site ... I don't quite understand how the URL works because it doesn't change at all regardless of what year's webcasts one is browsin.

Alternate instructions are:


Click on Video/TV Webcast

Then click on 2004 working TV video online

It's the 13th one down, titled *In Defense Of Public Education*. Don't let that fool you .. it's about more than that, really .. although his closing arguments pull it all together under that theme.

It is (imo) very well worth the time it takes to watch it, if you happen to find enough bandwidth to be able to download without too much inconvenience.

9/09/2005 1:20 AM  
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3/09/2007 1:19 PM  

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