Letter to Iowa Farmer Today on floods

Dear Editor,

Regarding the letter and article of April 6 about the flooding of the Missouri, I think a more objective opinion might help Mr. Grassley and those of us who pay, either through devastating loss and wasted tax dollars, understand why.

When I went to Alaska to work in my younger days I got a job with a helicopter logging company. We were there to clear a right of way for a power line from a hydroelectric plant to the city of Juneau. Previously, a line was built on a ridge-top and it all blew down in the inevitable 100 mile-per-hour wind and wet snow. The locals warned the Army Corps of Engineers of the conditions up there but they had wanted to avoid clearing timber, even though they could sell it.

When we arrived on the job site a guy in fatigues was running a chainsaw through dirt and rocks trying to cut out a three foot diameter tree stump. All the while he was cursing the saw as a piece of junk. The teeth on the saw looked like BB’s. The saw’s fault? We scratched our heads.

As hard as it is to imagine (to our government schooled minds), important jobs like power lines and dams should not be left to government. Government should only regulate to control force and fraud.

I’m reminded of the Pinkerton Company. The Pinkerton security and private detective agency filled a gap where government law enforcement lacked resources or incentive. They later became known as thugs used to break unions. But that is where government should have stepped in, restricting the use of force on individuals. In the field of security and detective work Pinkerton was hired where government failed.

Government has certainly failed to manage flooding; and not just on the Missouri River.

I’m sure the call will go out that we need more government to fix the problems on The Missouri, when those problems, obviously were caused by people expecting the government to “do its job.” We will be reassured that reform will work this time; an old story.

Think of a vision where the river was managed by an agency paid by those who would benefit directly from good management such as Pinkertons or private insurance, instead of taxpayers in New York or New Mexico who have no stake in the results and no right to refuse payment for bad performance. I know of a well managed private lake that is a good example of this.

Imagine if, as in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, private individuals (such as retired Navy Seals) were allowed to hunt down criminals like Osama bin Laden for a reward instead of conducting an 18 year, $3 trillion war on terror. The benefits of privatization are so great it is almost beyond comprehension.

It is time we abandon the failed strategy of taxing and throwing money at problems. The politicians who spend it all have one thing in common. Their greatest skill is getting elected.

Fritz Groszkruger

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