Private vs. Gov’t Response to Crisis

The News of Delaware County editorial poses an interesting question: “Would corporate America have handled last week’s Interstate 78 disaster any worse or better than Pennsylvania government officials?”

Their fudging around an answer is disappointing, though:

“When government works, it works well, particularly in large scale events. “

When government works? How often is that?

“The flip side, of course, is that the consequences are often dire when it doesn’t work. Witness Louisiana and New Orleans. Question is, who can better respond better to a crisis, the public or private sector?”

And who responded more quickly and efficiently after Katrina? While the New Orleans government, the Louisiana state government, the federal government were failing, Wal-Mart and Home Depot, were getting supplies to those who need it.

And who would actually take better care of our roads?

I think the answer is clear – the sector that hires and based on competency (not politics), the sector that has incentives to be efficient and effective, and the sector that is held accountable when it fails.

I find it bizarre that following (another) failure by government the Delco News is trying to stir up fears of the free market.