When Government Gets In Government’s Way


Let’s face it.  Government IS red tape.  Folks in government are faced with making decisions that are based on the same basic premise that the rest of us make decisions on.  Namely, incentives.  People are incented in the same manner no matter their profession or walk of life.  And in politics, the incentive is to not error.

There is no incentive to lead.  While it would be nice, it’s not required.  Really, all you have to do is not make a mistake.  Just avoid decision making and talk.  A lot.  And just.  Don’t.  Make.  Bad.  Decisions.

And that’s how we get this.

We get rules that are made up not because they make sense, but because they are made in times of fear.  And so it is that we find ourselves regulating ourselves to the point that we can’t take care of ourselves.

Consider the tornadoes that struck Raleigh some 4-6 months ago:

Raleigh, N.C. — Five months after a tornado uprooted trees in three historic cemeteries near downtown Raleigh, the city is still awaiting approval to clean up the damage, and the delay is frustrating relatives of people buried there.

Trees remain down at City Cemetery, the oldest public cemetery, where Raleigh’s founding fathers and legislators are buried, O’Rorke Cemetery, which dates to 1858, and Mount Hope Cemetery, a historic African-American graveyard.

Clarence Lightner, Raleigh’s first black mayor, is buried at Mount Hope, and his son had to remove pieces of bark from a large tree that still lies atop the grave marker so he could read it.

“It’s frustrating to see a historic cemetery of this nature still in this condition (five) months after the storm. It’s really, really not only frustrating, but it’s disrespectful,” Bruce Lightner said Monday. “We can do better than this.”

Why would a city wait 5 months to even begin cleaning up damage from a tornado?  Typically very very damaging, tornadoes are isolated.  That is, the damage is severe, but only for a small area.  Certainly a cemetery could have been taken care of?

Why the delay?

For Raleigh to be reimbursed for cleaning up the cemeteries, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state preservation rules required an archaeological survey be completed.

Ahhh, yes.  The gentle healing hand of government.  We can not clean up the cemetery because we are dependent upon the government to cover the costs of the clean-up.  If it were OUR responsibility to pay for the damage, the clean-up would have been taken care of.  But because we have to rely on the Imperial Federal Government to come to the rescue, we are delayed.  In this case, 5 months and counting.

This is life imitating life:

Raleigh City Councilman Eugene Weeks said the government should offer the city a waiver so it can start the cleanup without further delay.

“Something needs to be done now, not FEMA telling us when we can do it,” Weeks said. “Just say, ‘Go ahead and do it, and we will reimburse you.'”

Indeed.  Government telling government that government is government’s problem.

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