What is the government qualified to do?
Stored in such places as the vacant land near an airfield in Hope, Ark., an industrial park in Cumberland, Md., and a warehouse in Edison, N.J., are the results of one of the federal government’s costliest stumbles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — tens of thousands of empty trailers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency hurriedly bought 145,000 trailers and mobile homes just before and after Katrina hit, spending $2.7 billion largely through no-bid contracts. Now, it is selling off as many as 41,000 of the homes, netting, so far, about 40 cents on each dollar spent by taxpayers.
FEMA cannot sell unused mobile homes directly to the public because of legislation passed by Congress in October at the industry’s urging. Instead, the agency must now go through a time-consuming process of trying to donate them first to federal, state and local agencies and public service groups, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Web site.
Remind me why I should be enthusiastic about government-managed health care or schools or
“While FEMA has 8,420 brand new, fully furnished, never-used mobile homes in a cow pasture in Hope, Arkansas, they refuse to provide the people from Desha, Back Gate and Dumas counties with help. This is crazy,” said Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.). “If this is the new and improved FEMA, I don’t want any part of it.”
Fair enough, but if it worked as Rep. Ross wants, I wouldn’t want any part of it. That’s the point of not having the government meddle in things it’s not capable of doing. Someone will be abused. Keep out, expect people to be responsible, and let the private market take care of those who can’t or won’t. It’s rough, but it can’t be worse than the mess we have now.