The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
More Perils of the Nanny State

While New York City picked up the pieces following Hurricane Sandy last week, we argued that the hurricane laid bare the true failure of blue governance: The endless tinkering with bureaucratic regulations distracts the government from the large, important functions it needs to focus on. And we aren’t alone in this assessment. A new WSJ piece by William McGurn argues that blue liberalism may be the biggest casualty of Sandy:

In their own ways, Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama embody the obsessions of modern liberalism. Each holds an advanced Ivy League degree. Each believes he would make better choices for others than they could make for themselves. Each has consequently eschewed the gradual and the modest—the unglamorous improvements that might have better prepared, say, Staten Island, for a dangerous storm. These leaders prefer instead the shiny and large, whether it is Mr. Bloomberg’s huge and costly 2nd Avenue subway project or Mr. Obama’s $860 billion federal stimulus. . .

In New York we get a mayor who makes war on Big Gulp sodas while proving himself inept at basic government functions such as clearing snow. At the national level, we get a president who vows to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy even though some might not be without power if regulators in Washington and New York hadn’t been making the environment so hostile to new investment.

Hence too the modern unvirtuous circle, where intervention at the federal level encourages waste and grandiosity at the local level. These subsidies distort priorities, which helps explain why California votes to spend money it doesn’t have for a high-speed rail it can’t afford.

Indeed. Massive states like California, Illinois and New York are beginning to circle the drain, but much of the blame should go to Washington as well, which encourages and often subsidizes these wasteful programs. America, and these states in particular, need to develop alternatives to the Blue model before things become much worse.

Read the whole thing.

Published on November 8, 2012 11:13 am