New Orleans/Atlantis

The Chinees idiogram for the word "crisis" consist of two characters, the first meaning trouble and second meaning opportunity.

That is the situation in Lousiana right now. The first opportunity concerns what to do witht he city of New Orleans. The levee system made economic sense because it was cheaper than and rebuilding the city in a better place. Since we are going to have to rebuild the city anyway, it makes sense to look at all alternatives. The worst would be a return to a city nine feet below sea level surrounded by levees that are not up to a big storm surge, i.e. the old status quo.

Since much of the money for rebuilding the city is going to come from all of us, we should have some say in picking the right option.

The next opportunity concerns who will do the rebuilding. Louisana only pays lib service to the free market system. All the groups have their piece of the public till and in some cases the private tills. I can remember when eye glasses cost over three times as much in Louisana as they did in Texas. Optomitrist were not allowed to compete on price. Gee, I wonder who thought that was a good idea. Louisana has the worse roads in the country. Interstate 10 going into New Orleans is wavy enough to require motion sickness medication, but it smoothes out in states on either side of it. Did the levee construction around New Orleans go to the contractor offerring the best service at the best price?

While the natural inclination of many in Louisana is to give preference to local contractors, they will be pushing even harder because of the need "to put people back to work" and "get money back into the local economy." This would be a huge mistake, even worse thanrebuilding New Orleans nine feet below sea level. That fact that governors are occassionally indicted for corruption in Louisana suggest contractors witht he state are not always selected because their merits. The answer is to make the local contractors compete with contractors from around the country. It will make them better and the state will get better infrastructure. Bring the free market to Louisana. Competition will make the state more prosperous, and all us taxpayers will get more bang for our bucks.

Right now thousands of people from the New Orleans area in Houston and other Texas cities. They are getting a first hand look at how much nicer life is in a free market environment without corruption. We should give that opportunity to all.

Update: This story suggest that there is not much hope for change.

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