It has been a year since Hurricane Maria slammed into the island of Puerto Rico, killing many people, destroying homes, and creating a humanitarian crisis. To this day, the U.S. territory still hasn’t returned to normal, despite the billions in aid contributed by the private sector, non-profit organizations, and wealthy philanthropists – and President Donald Trump’s paper towels.
Maria is back in the news again after the president complained on Twitter that the death toll was artificially boosted by the Democrats to make him look bad. This is prompting anti-Trump news outlets to interview several left-leaning individuals about Trump’s remarks, including the $3,500 pantsuit-wearing socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper about Maria, Puerto Rico, and the president’s tweets. She ultimately blamed “government inaction” for the disaster on the ground, revealing that her grandfather died in the hurricane and went uncounted:
“What we saw in Puerto Rico was a mass death of 3,000 people. It was the worst humanitarian crisis in modern American history, and many, many people impacted by this storm point to government inaction as the cause of death.”
It might be difficult to concede, but Ocasio-Cortez is correct, which might be the first time in her three-month political career.
The Left Hurt Puerto Rico
In the aftermath of Maria, Puerto Rico was without power, hospitals were short of supplies, and an enormous amount of aid did not make it to the shores of the island for days and weeks. It was a tragic situation, and reminiscent of so many other natural disasters that have pummeled the U.S.
But why did it take so long for Puerto Rico to recover? The culprit is The Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a union-supported and Democrat-backed legislation that regulates maritime commerce and restricts shipping. The century-old-policy impacted relief efforts, and continues to raise prices by as much as 15% at a time when tens of thousands have seen their living standards diminish.
While it may have benefited unions for decades, the law has strangled the Puerto Rican economy and the world’s relief efforts. Under the law, foreign vessels entering the territory are required to pay fees, taxes, and tariffs, or reroute to Florida, unload the cargo, and then transfer the goods to a U.S. vessel.
After weeks of outcry, the White House finally issued Jones Act waivers and exemptions, an upgrade from the status quo. However, the real solution would have been to abolish the leftist archaic law.
More of the Same
When Ocasio-Cortez said it was the government’s fault for what happened on the ground, she is correct. But the question then becomes: Why does she want more of the same?
Let’s be candid: Government does not work – and it never will.
Whether it is controlled by a Republican or a Democrat, the state is a bureaucratic monstrosity that maintains mountains of frustrating paperwork and pillars of contradictory rules and regulations. You cannot make it more efficient, more affordable, and more competent. It is the biggest swamp creature of them all, and it needs to be dismantled brick by brick.
In the same Counterfeit News Network interview, Ocasio-Cortez asserted how important it is to have a federal jobs guarantee, Medicare for All, “free” tuition, and a myriad of other statist goodies. Despite the $40 trillion price-tag that cannot be paid for, the socialist it-girl contends that her proposals are not “pie in the sky.”
While the cost is something that should be concerning, her inconsistent logic is just as worrisome.
On one hand, Ocasio-Cortez blames the government for Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis. On the other, she wants the state to take over healthcare, give you a job, and offer free education. What makes her think that the government is astute enough to provide medical care to 300 million Americans while leaving tens of thousands on an island without power and water for months?
Former President Ronald Reagan had the right idea when he said in a speech: “Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.”
Why anyone would want more of the same is confounding.
The Leviathan Impedes Society
In the 1951 Japanese motion picture, Ikiru, the narrator states: “There’s nothing left of that will or passion. They’ve been completely worn down by the minutia of the bureaucratic machine and the meaningless busyness it breeds.”
Civil servants may sometimes have the right intentions to aid their fellow citizens, but they are bogged down by the weight of forms and legislation that attempts to make politicians look good. And these are elements that the left demands more of: paperwork, regulations, and bureaucracy.
When the likes of Ocasio-Cortez blame the system for the calamity in Puerto Rico, it is important to realize that this is what they have clamored for all along. The left has defended public sector unions, petitioned for more laws, and endorsed statist measures. As we have seen at times of natural disasters, when there is little red tape, the people and the private sector do a far better job than the federal government ever could. Why should we naively think red tape can improve healthcare and education?
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