Cal  Thomas

People who put faith in government to solve national or even individual problems are headed for deep disappointment, if it hasn't already arrived. Still, that doesn't stop politicians from attempting to sell political snake oil to the gullible. No one ever lost money betting on the ignorance of the uninformed masses.

What should be required viewing before the election is "John Stossel's Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics," a "20/20" report critical of the U.S. government's ability to get things done (abcnews.com). The report looked at facts, not opinions, or "feelings" concerning government's inability to live up to the high expectations caused by over-promising politicians.

Stossel visited New Orleans to see how government reconstruction is progressing three years after Hurricane Katrina. What he found should not surprise anyone. Huge numbers of houses remain un-repaired thanks to a bureaucracy that could serve as a plot for a horror movie called "Nightmare on Bourbon Street." The forms necessary to apply for permits to conduct any repairs or construct new buildings take 10 minutes to explain. As for the houses themselves, "Of the 314 public projects (New Orleans Mayor Ray) Nagin promoted in his 'One New Orleans' rebuilding campaign announced in January 2006, only six are complete."

Contrast that with what the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity has done: "They built 70 homes quickly," noted Stossel. "Even Nagin admitted they did what government didn't." Private enterprise has succeeded, where government has failed. Actor Brad Pitt ("Brad Pitt has done more for this community than anyone," said Malik Rahim, one of the co-founders of Common Ground Collective, a group formed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) and singer Harry Connick Jr. have been at the forefront of efforts to circumvent government stagnation.

Stossel asked the obvious question: If Pitt and Connick can help build dozens of new homes, why does it take government so long to follow through on its plans? Nagin explains he's made it easier for people to rebuild their homes, providing permits online at kiosks throughout the city.

Stossel visited city hall and guess what? Not one of the kiosks worked! Conclusion? Individual Americans do things better, with less bureaucracy and at less cost than the central planning collective known as government.


Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
 
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