Today's Chicago Tribune editorial, "How do you spell futility? FEMA," rightly condemns the estimated $1.4 billion in Hurricane Katrina relief funds that were wasted on items such as "jewelry, Caribbean vacations, pro football tickets, pornographic videos, divorce lawyer fees and a sex-change operation." It points out that Government Accountability Office auditors say that almost one in every six dollars targeted for aid ended up in the hands of swindlers.
The Tribune fails to mention that one possible reason for fraud was harsh criticism that FEMA wasn't dishing out the bucks fast enough.
An example of that was a September 8, 2005 Tribune editorial titled "When governments fail citizens." The editorial noted: "The initial federal response, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was a tangle of red tape." Moreover, it stated that help was delayed "while FEMA bureaucrats dither(ed) over paperwork."
Perhaps if FEMA bureaucrats had dithered longer, taxpayers wouldn't have been ripped off for more than a billion dollars.
Like much of the mainstream media, the Chicago Tribune is rarely reluctant to look to government for solutions. When those supposed solutions, as they always do, highlight the inherent sluggishness of bureaucracy, then they complain about all the red tape. Later, they move on to condemn the fraud, waste and mismanagement that inevitably follow.