More government is the solution?
What the current regime (and in fact pretty much every regime to date) does in the name of free markets is a gross misrepresentation of the term. I think many people on the "left" can be forgiven for not knowing that REAL free trade doesn't mean some people get to have the rules bent to make them more profitable. It operates on the idea that a level playing field, with buyers able to freely make their own choices and sellers providing the products that those buyers actually want (with no coercion exerted from any direction) is the only truly moral and peaceful form of commerce possible.
No czar, bureaucrat or divinely anointed legislative body can ever possibly know in advance which products will be most efficient or appealing nor the prices that ought to accompany them. To attempt to operate otherwise means that governmental force must be used to achieve a particular outcome. That this is considered acceptable (tariffs, price freezing, etc.) presupposes that if you have something to sell and I want to buy it, that we must have a third party tell us whether or not we're smart enough or responsible enough to make the transaction.
Of course, that's a pretty common mindset...people are too stupid to know what their self-interests are, so they must be protected. Meanwhile, the present abortion of an economic system illustrates well how we're being "protected" into the grave.
If you like, you can blame all our current problems on a few bad apples in the current administration and in lots of ways, you'd get no argument from me regarding their performance. But I think, if one lets the mist part a little and realizes that the problems that are being identified now have been with us (and growing) for quite some time, you might recognize the need for more fundamental change.
More government and more control won't equal more compassion and a greater institutional impulse to provide for the security of the citizenry. Changing the faces won't do it either. We've let ourselves be seduced that our government a) wants to take care of us and b) is capable of doing it. If we really thought about it, we'd realize that no government can efficiently keep our lives as secure as we'd like and we'd further realize that like all the rest of the humans on the planet, their primary interest is in looking out for themselves and perpetuating the system that insures their way of life.
And unfortunately, the perpetuation of their way of life does most of the rest of us no good at all and is, in fact, counter to OUR self-interests.
When we recognize the failings of our government, I submit that the appropriate response is not to bend over and meekly ask for more of the same (or in some cases, shaking a fist and demanding
If you're looking at the current mess (Katrina) as it slowly unfolds, follow your FIRST impulse: "what can I do to help?" Forget about what can the government do...because the answer is: very little and not very well and the price is way too high.