We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Why Kafka Would Like FEMA

2nd December 2012

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Our first exposure to the folks from FEMA was a few days after Hurricane Sandy, which devastated our neighborhood on Long Island Sound. A platoon of FEMA agents, readily identifiable by their official-looking jackets with “FEMA” emblazoned on the back, spread out across the neighborhood offering the distraught residents oodles of sympathy—oodles—and plenty of forms to fill out and web sites to visit.

Yesterday I spoke to, let’s see, eight, maybe nine different FEMA agents. Each one was there to help. Each was polite, sympathetic. Oodles of sympathy. Almost all had a form for me to fill out, a web site to visit. Each of the long, long line of people who came to see these agents went away with forms to fill out, web sites to visit.

You then talked to one nice person after the next. There was this form, and that form, and a web site you could visit, and handbook you could read. At one stop I was given, for free!, a longish pamphlet explaining what I could do to make my property less liable to flood damage: “Mitigation Ideas For Reducing Flood Loss” it said on its cover. After a flood, it told me, a house needs to be dried out and cleaned. “Move things you want to save to a safe dry place.” Noted. “The longer they sit in water, the more damaged they become.” I was glad to know that.

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