Of “small government” and big disasters

Should we rename New Orleans “Lake George”?

A reader reminds me of Grover Norquist’s motto:

My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub

and comments:

And when the time comes that drowning Americans need that government . . .

He also suggests naming the pool of toxic waste that now exists where New Orleans used to be “Lake George W. Bush,” after the man whose decisions helped create it. (Update: Suggestion accepted..)

But that seems to me unfair.

Responsibility for this disaster rests squarely on the people of New Orleans. If they had wanted their government to protect them, they should have hired Jack Abramoff as their lobbyist.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com