I confess, I was this naive, too:
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: I guess I was naive.What does it mean when folks like me aspire to have limited government? We seek maximal freedom for citizens, without the intrustion of government where it is not needed. But we also seek maximal efficiency of the government in those cases where it is essential. On typical days, we argue about where to draw the line between "essential" and "not needed." A Category 5 hurricane making landfall anywhere is so far over that line that we cannot even see it anymore.
I thought that in the wake of Katrina's passing we'd see flotillas of helicopters, fleets of boats, and public health and public safety professionals from all over the country giving booster shots and restoring order within hours. I expected to see rapid, active, and aggressive disaster-recovery response from rescue assets prepositioned nearby but out of the reach of the hurricane.
After all, having a hurricane hit a city is nothing new. New Orleans's vulnerability as a bathtub waiting for the ocean is obvious. Louisiana is crucial to America's oil industry, and New Orleans is--was--an incredibly valuable touristic and cultural jewel.
Limited should not be misconstrued to mean ineffectual.