Personal Responsibility in New Orleans: Does the Government Really Mean It?

August 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Money and Behavior

Government Showing Disaster Relief Tough Love?

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you know that Mr. ToughMoneyLove is a believer in personal responsibility in matters of money and personal finance.  My belief in personal responsibility extends to other life matters as well, particularly when the alternative is a dependence on the government and taxpayer dollars.

Thus, I was intrigued by the news this morning out of Louisiana as hurricane Gustav continues on its path towards the gulf coast.  It seems that local and state government officials are bringing the tough love to the residents of New Orleans:  “We won’t be rescuing you this time.”  Specifically, the city’s emergency preparedness officials have made the following announcements:

There won’t be any emergency shelters of last resort, e.g., the SuperDome will be closed.

Those who refuse orders to evacuate “accept all responsibility for themselves and their loved ones.”

Mr. ToughMoneyLove is skeptical about that second statement.  Such a warning coming from the government is highly unusual.  It is particularly so when we are close to an election in which candidates are once again making a wide variety of promises to the electorate.  Many of these promises involve forced re-distribution of wealth from people who have achieved some measure of financial independence to others who have become dependent on the government to take care of them.   Unfortunately, so many of these promises come from politicians who know nothing about economics.

Is this a New Trend of Weaning the Governed from Overdependence on Government Money?

The Katrina disaster should have been a wake-up call for both the government and the governed, including in matters of economic well-being:

The government cannot take care of you.  Even if you believe that the government can or should take care of your financial future, you should make your financial plan as if your belief is wrong.

If we make our financial plans and retirement plans with this assumption, or at least with a healthy dose of skepticism, our outcomes are more likely to be favorable.   There are organizations that exist and depend on the opposite assumption – that people cannot be expected to take care of themselves.  As one example, the leaders of various homeless and “workers justice” groups are already complaining about the government’s plans to let those who do not evacuate fend for themselves.

Of course, substantial taxpayer dollars have already been committed to evacuation plans, including $7 million for buses.  This is a good thing for the elderly and disabled.  I don’t know about you, but Mr. ToughMoneyLove would not want to count on a government bus to get me and my family out of harm’s way.

Let us all hope that the hurricane does not harm any of our fellow Americans in New Orleans or anywhere else.  Let us further hope that recent events will assist us in understanding that planning and personal responsibility are hallmarks of a successful financial future.

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One Response to “Personal Responsibility in New Orleans: Does the Government Really Mean It?”
  1. MasterPo says:

    Don’t count on it. Maybe in this specific case some “tough love” was spoken (time will tell if it REALLY will be policy or the local gov will given in to pictures on CNN). But I don’t see this as a trend – unfortunately.

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