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4 Tragedies That Rendered The American Government Helpless

4 Tragedies That Rendered The American Government Helpless

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At Off The Grid News, we discuss a lot of conduct that the government should not be involved in. This conduct includes warrantless spying, endless increases in taxes and fees, criminalizing the right to bear arms, and suppressing freedom of speech.

However, one of the legitimate roles of the government, from the federal government to the local county or city, is to respond when tragedies and catastrophic failures in public policy occur. However, even when the government actually tries to do what it is supposed to do (rather than what liberals think it should do), the government often fails.

Here I discuss four tragedies and failures in public policy in history where the government has found itself powerless.

1. Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans was flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Its destruction of the Army Corps of Engineer’s flood control system and its massive ferocity essentially put the government in a state of shock. Failures to adequately respond occurred at the federal, state and local level. At the federal level, FEMA director Michael Brown’s performance was criticized for a slow response and failure to call in the military. While some may question why the military was needed, FEMA’s domestic disaster relief operation was not prepared for the massive scope of destruction caused by the hurricane.

Brown was not the only one open to criticism. Governor Kathleen Blanco, although she later denied it, was accused of refusing to accept federal help. Mayor Ray Nagin, despite the timely and accurate forecasts of the incoming hurricane, delayed ordering an emergency evacuation until only 19 hours before landfall.

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Hundreds of people died trying to evacuate New Orleans after it was too late.

2. Lack of Border Security

The federal government cannot (or will not) stop the flow of illegal drugs and illegal immigrants across the Mexican border. Despite increasing funding by $300 million a year during the Bush and Obama administrations, and thousands of border patrol, National Guard troops, and federal immigration law enforcement officers, the Mexican border has rendered the federal government powerless.

4 Tragedies That Rendered The American Government Helpless

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There are many factors that contribute to our failure to maintain border security. First, the border is immense in length. Second, politics has frozen the ability of the federal government to take any meaningful steps to improve the situation. There’s enough blame to go around. Some conservatives fail to understand that true improvement necessitates addressing what to do with the 15 million illegal immigrants here. Many liberals inflame the issue by falsely accusing any person trying to rationally discuss border security as a racist. Including some that would call me a racist for using the term “illegal immigrant” instead of undocumented worker.

Both sides can fire shots across the bow, but large swaths of our southern states have become zones unsafe for law-abiding people to live and work. The violence associated with illegal drugs, the desperation of destitute refugees from a Mexico on the brink of civil war or societal disintegration, and the war-like patrol of federal law enforcement helicopters and vehicles makes this area uninhabitable. It is a true tragedy, and our federal government has been rendered helpless.

3. Lack of Care for Aging Population

The baby boomers created a period of wealth and prosperity for the United States. With such a large influx in population, the tax base increased and economic growth exploded. But, as usually happens during the good times, the government doesn’t plan for the future.

While baby boomers spawned a period of prosperity, they are now senior citizens and the government is rendered helpless to take care of them in the elder years. Social Security will soon be bankrupt. Health care is a total mess, is far worse after Obamacare, and has little hope of caring for the health needs of the baby boomer surge in healthcare needs. Additionally, prisons are overflowing, and after decades of harsh sentencing and loss of parole in federal prisons, it costs state and federal governments about $70,000 per year to care for each senior citizen incarcerated.

There are few solutions palatable to today’s politicians. The government could increase social security taxes (wait – Obama already did that). The government could raise the retirement age, but politicians won’t do that because they prefer rhetoric over difficult decisions. Regarding prisons, one option is to parole, on humanitarian grounds, long-term prisoners that could demonstrate they have family or other means to take care of themselves. But politicians won’t do that.

Recent attempts by California Governor Brown and President Obama to release some non-violent offenders have resulted in partisan attacks accusing them of being soft on crime. I’m no Democrat, and no liberal, and rarely advocate working with either, but the burden baby boomers have placed on the government (no, it’s not the baby boomers’ fault) needs to be addressed by both sides of the aisle.

4. Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics

Huh? What’s this? While most Americans know about Katrina and the challenges facing this nation on border security and an aging population, many have not heard about bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

What is this, and why should we care?

First of all, I am not exaggerating. The government has already been rendered helpless on this issue, and few even know about it.

Loss of bacterial resistance to antibiotics means that the antibiotics (drugs) we use to treat bacteria, primarily infections, lose their effectiveness over time because bacteria become resistant to them. The medical profession’s response, and the government’s response, has been to use MORE antibiotics and MORE POWERFUL antibiotics. But the bacteria adapt.

Twenty years ago, Americans started dying from infections that used to be easily treated by antibiotics. But those antibiotics no longer work, and new ones succumb to bacterial resistance sooner than ever. It may sound defeatist, but this is a battle already lost, and some mainstream doctors agree. The government seems helpless to fix this.


Americans have many different views of the government. Some believe the government is a hindrance rather than a problem solver. Others believe the government is the solution to the nation’s problems. Regardless of viewpoint, when catastrophic events or conditions occur, our government has often been rendered helpless in responding to them.

What tragedies or problems would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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