The private sector has long played a critical role in disaster relief, but a whole new level of cooperation is being reached between the private
sector and the government - the goal being an improved response time and greater efficiency overall during disasters, natural or otherwise.
Frustrated by a lack of communication during recent disasters, ranging from 9/11 to Hurrican Katrina, Big Business is going to Uncle Sam with a list
of changes they want made to improve their ability to assist in rescue and relief efforts. The principle is to cut out the middlemen and streamline
the contracting process.
Now, nearly 30 CEOs have teamed in an unprecedented effort to set up an "emergency protocol" with the U.S. government and charities so they can all
respond better to the next natural or manmade disaster.
CEO members of the task force, the largest ever put together by the Business Roundtable, met for the first time last month in Washington. Frances
Townsend, President Bush's point woman on Homeland Security, was at the meeting.
The CEOs told her. They want in on the early planning. They want in on information during a disaster. And they want in on the emergency operations on
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The cynic in me says that this is just another lunge towards a completely outsourced government, meaning greater margins for all the crooks, and
fewer recourses for the citizens. What's insider trading compared to insider profiteering and insider gouging?
Would it be good to get more water to needy people when they need it? Absolutely. Is it good to strip our government of all its capabilities and
leave the nation at the mercy of private corporations who are required by law to serve shareholders first? We're talking about entities governed by
the profit motive, and we're putting them in charge of humanitarian efforts? I'm totally against government inefficiency, but I don't like the idea
of solving that problem by opening up another giant, gaping vulnerability.
There's a serious logical disconnect there, putting vultures in charge of the sick and dying. I have no problem with them helping out, they have the
capability and apparently the will. But we're nearing the day when this nation will have a mercenary government, completely and totally unaccountable
to the people (even moreso than it is already). I can't wait for the cops and the firemen to be outsourced, and then we can go back to the 'good old
days' of having the firemen stand outside, watching your house burn, while you run about looking for a check that hasn't been reduced to ash, so you
can pay your monthly dues and get the creeps to put some water on the blaze.