"What Really Happened in Maui?"
John Leake appears in documentary about Lahaina disaster
Last fall I was invited by Blaze Media to give an interview about my findings for my forthcoming book, Goodbye, Lahaina: The Perfect Firestorm, which will be released on August 9, 2024, the one-year anniversary of the disaster.
I combined the on-location interview with another extended research trip to Maui. My initial intuition about the Lahaina disaster has been confirmed beyond my worst suspicions. The story is a perfect expression of the following themes:
Federal and state governments consistently fail to do daily managerial work because such work does NOT benefit the special interests that drive policy.
With unlimited debt financing always (eventually) made available for state-contracted emergency response and/or cleanup, emergencies always turn out to be bonanzas for players and stakeholders who are well-positioned to exploit them.
Federal and state agencies are now a striking mixture of corruption and incompetence in equal measure. In a corrupt system, incompetence that amplifies disasters is rewarded by the greater sums of state funds allocated for the response. In the case of the Lahaina fire, the cleanup is proving to be a bonanza, with billions being shoveled to contractors who are excavating, testing, and hauling away the ash and soil.
Similar perverse incentives are at play in state responses to financial crises, emerging infectious diseases, and wars. Proper management of public affairs requires skill and diligence, but there is no money in conscientious management for special interests and industries. The payoff—i.e., bailouts, pandemic countermeasures, weapons, and billions of “aid”—comes with the catastrophe.
Please watch Blaze’s brief documentary (no longer behind paywall) and share it with your friends.