This is happening right now in the largest city in the most prosperous nation in the world:
How did this come to be? Walter Russell Mead has an idea. Maybe this is what happens with government concerns itself with micromanaging our lives – like, say, regulating what size soft drinks we can buy – instead of attending to the big problems:
Admittedly, getting public support and finding the money for flood protection would be hard, but it is exactly that kind of hard job that governments are supposed to do. Leadership is getting the important things done, not looking busy on secondary tasks while the real needs of the city go quietly unmet.
The problem with nanny state governance isn’t just that it’s intrusive. It isn’t just that it stifles business with over-regulation, and it isn’t just that it empowers busybodies and costs money. It’s that it distracts government from the really big jobs that it ought to be doing.
Mayor Bloomberg has done an admirable job under great pressure as the city reels from Sandy’s attack. But an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. The city needed flood protection for its subways and electricity grid—and it didn’t get it. If the Mayor had spent less time and less of his political capital focusing on minutiae, this storm could have played out very differently.
Remember, Mayor Bloomberg said that global warming was the deciding factor in who he endorsed for president. If that’s true, if the mayor truly believes that human activities is creating violent weather patterns, then shouldn’t his city have been a little more, you know, prepared for something like this?
It’s amazing to me how many people who claim that global warming is a crisis don’t act like it’s actually a crisis.