As Texas burns, Rick Perry doesn’t want to talk free-market philosophy

September 8, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

The hypocrisy is pointed out by The Young Turks:

Here’s what Perry did to the fire-fighting budget:

The wildfires threatening Dunkerley and her neighbors are being met by an inadequately funded response team. Back in May, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a budget presented by the state legislature that cut funding for the state agency in charge of combating such blazes. The Texas Forest Service’s funding was sliced from $117.7 million to $83 million. More devastating cuts hit the assistance grants to volunteer fire departments around the state. Those grants were slashed 55 percent from $30 million per year in 2010 and 2011 to $13.5 million per year in 2012 and 2013. Those cuts are effective now.

Apparently, the “free market” isn’t enough to fight these fires. “Perry has now asked President Obama for a disaster declaration which, if granted, would help the state by paying for 75% of the firefighting costs.

Rick Perry has vilified “government.” He thinks that good things will simply happen, despite the lack of government organization and funding. This is a position contradicted by ubiquitous evidence, including the fires now raging around Rick Perry. His free market fundamentalism, bereft of evidence, is a dangerous religious belief.

To be clear, I’m not advocating big government, per se. I understand Rick Perry’s concern about large-scale government reallocation schemes, but the answer is not to completely dismantle government. I’m advocating smart government. We should reallocate tax money we are currently wasting (e.g., much of the military budget, corn ethanol, propping up too-big-to-fail-megabanks) and we should put it into things that really work to benefit the citizens and strengthen the economy (e.g., energy conservation, sustainable energy and early childhood education).

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Category: Free Market, hypocrisy, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Tony Mach says:

    The moment you let yourself be sucked into the “big government” rhetoric, the moment you loose. Why do you have to apologize that you “to be clear, are not advocating big government, per se.”? And to whom do you apologize?

    And would you argue like this with other topics, where they talk about “death committees” or “fascism”? Would you write something like “To be clear, I’m not advocating muslim terror, per se.” ????

    • Erich Vieth says:

      I try to not demonize the right, even though I will fiercely criticize their ideas with which I disagree. Their cheater-detectors go nuts when they see ill-constructed (though well-intended) government programs siphoning money from hard working Americans and allocating them to opportunists (most of them have blinders, though; they don’t get pissed with the opportunists are corporations). I also see many terrible wastes of government money, and I’d like to see some programs cut (e.g. the ones I mentioned in the post). With that as context, I’d like to see a meaningful discussion begin about what programs are worthwhile. Funding firefighters in Texas certainly seems like a worthwhile government program, and I confess I rather enjoying seeing blowhard Rick Perry twisting in the hot wind while Texas burns.

      The framing of the government budget issue is off-kilter. It should not be about simply cutting government spending. In my opinion, many liberals are wrong to suggest that the government can indefinitely spend more than it takes, on whatever good idea comes to mind, in without harming many of us. I’d like to see this entire issue re-framed to the idea that we ought to support good government programs and cut inefficient, intrusive and wasteful ones.

      If you want me to call Rick Perry the Devil and refuse to recognize a concern that is motivating many millions of conservatives, I won’t do that because it wouldn’t be productive. I have always tried (not always succeeded) to put my opponent’s best foot forward–I try to show that I’m listening and that I understand their concern, and then explain my position. I’m utterly disgusted with prevalent rhetoric that makes bizarre cartoons and straw people out of opponents. In fact I put much blame on this rhetoric (and the mass media “news” shows that promote it) for the functional breakdown of our government.

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