Friday, April 28, 2006

The Crony Fairy

Paul Krugman finally gets a little rude to Bush. 'Bout effin' time!

The U.S. government is being stalked by an invisible bandit, the Crony Fairy, who visits key agencies by dead of night, snatches away qualified people and replaces them with unqualified political appointees. There's no way to catch or stop the Crony Fairy, so our only hope is to change the agencies' names. That way she might get confused, and leave our government able to function.

Many people thought that FEMA was a lost cause. But Bill Clinton proved them wrong. He appointed qualified people to lead the agency and gave them leeway to hire other qualified people, and within a year FEMA's morale and performance had soared. For the rest of the Clinton years, FEMA was among the most highly regarded agencies in the federal government.

What happened to that reputation? The answer, of course, is that the second President Bush returned to his father's practices. Once again, FEMA became a dumping ground for cronies, and many of the good people who had come in during the Clinton years left. It took only a few years to transform one of the best agencies in the U.S. government into what Senator Susan Collins calls "a shambles and beyond repair."

In other words, the Crony Fairy is named George W. Bush.

On the other hand, the history of the Bush administration, from the botched reconstruction of Iraq to the botched start-up of the prescription drug program, shows that a president who isn't serious about governing, who prizes loyalty and personal connections over competence, can quickly reduce the government of the world's most powerful nation to third-world levels of ineffectiveness.

So let's skip the name change for FEMA, O.K.? The United States will regain effective government if and when it gets a president who cares more about serving the nation than about rewarding his friends and scoring political points. That's at least a thousand days away. Meanwhile, don't count on FEMA, or on any other government agency, to do its job.

Please go read the rest.

Bush wants to get rid of government agencies and programs and let everything be done by the greedy private sector for immense profit at public expense, read with our money. He's building up the size of government and wasting tons of our money by putting his incompetent cronies in charge to just that end. First, he sets these agencies and programs up to fail, and then, when they unavoidably fail due to lack of leadership or a plan, he can claim government doesn't work. At the same time, he raids the coffers and impoverishes government so there'll be no money to fix what he fucked up.

The longer Bush&Co. stay at the helm, the closer the ship of our nation gets to the rocks. We must wrest the wheel away from him soonest. It might be OK to let him ring the bell to his heart's content once that happens, but I betcha he could screw that up too.

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