When the government is run by political forces committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out. What we really need is a government that works, because it’s run by people who understand that sometimes government is the solution, after all.
Doesn’t make any sense to you? It made just as little sense when Paul Krugman made the argument in 2008, imaginatively (to say the least) positing that George W. Bush and John McCain were wild-eyed libertarians, and that the former’s purported libertarianism was the cause of FEMA’s incompetence in dealing with Katrina.
I ridiculed the premise at the time (and again a year later), noting that “After eight years of “no child left behind,” Medicare expansion, aid to Africa for AIDS, drug warring, abstinence education, nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so forth and so on, and more of the same promised by McCain, the better question is, is there any problem that Bush and McCain DON’T think government should solve?”
As I recall, others rejoined that no, Krugman is right, incompetence by the Bush Admnistration is OBVIOUSLY due to Republicans all totally hating government. It must come as a surprise to Krugman and his defenders that government can prove itself to be wildly, disastrously incompetent even when run by people whom even Krugman would have to admit aren’t going to be confused with libertarians any time soon (assuming, of course, that Krugman actually ever believed the nonsense he wrote).