Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Katrina Revisited: Walmart wins!

As if we don't already know that private enterprise almost always does things better than the government, it turns out that even in disaster FEMA (whose sole reason for existence is handling disasters) sucks balls and should be eliminated. From Federal Times:

Private organizations such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other so-called “big box” stores provided more supplies and relief than the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, George Mason University’s Mercatus Center said in a report released March 20. Local store managers took advantage of their autonomy and moved quickly to reopen after the storm and distribute supplies — sometimes for free, and often without the permission of superiors. One Wal-Mart employee in Kenner, La., broke through a warehouse door with a forklift to get water for a nearby retirement home, the report said.

But at the bureaucratically stymied FEMA, supply purchases and shipments were tied up in red tape, and offers of help from other parties were turned down for fear of liability issues.

The main difference, said report author Steven Horwitz, is that private companies have to make sure there are still people in the community to shop at their stores after a disaster and who think well enough of stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot to give them their business. That prompts companies to act quickly and keeps them from gouging prices, which, they believe, hurt them in the long run.
Wow, look people are able to make decisions for themselves without taking orders from central planning! Who woulda thunk it?

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