The National Journal’s Jonathan Rauch has some compelling reporting about what’s doing in St. Bernard Parish, right next door to New Orleans — and the answer in Struggling To Survive is “not nearly enough”.
After that has thoroughly depressed you, visit the sidebar in which Jon argues that the root problem is largely bureaucratic:
Is St. Bernard Parish’s bureaucracy fatigue incurable, treatable with smarter bureaucracy, or susceptible only to fundamental reform? The answer is yes — partially — to all of the above.
So is this the administration’s fault? I’d say even if Jon is right that the statutory climate is unhelpful, there’s a lot more that could be done if the line officials were more empowered to get results — and felt that they would get in more trouble for doing nothing than for doing th wrong thing. And that would come only if they got the right sort of direction from the top.
But who remembers New Orleans nowadays?