Hurricane Rita has been listed as a Category 5 hurricane of 898mb and sustained winds of 175mph. According to CNN, "President Bush declared states of emergency in Texas and Louisiana, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts."
Do we ever learn? Judging from FEMAs recent performance, I'd say people are better off without the government "coordinating" (read: hindering, micro-managing, delaying) relief efforts.
People -- individual people with no political power -- have done more to help relief than mayors, FEMA, the President, or state officials. Why? Could it be that central planning just doesn't work? For now, we can set aside the issue of taxation and government reaching outside of its scope by engaging in charity. Does government "charity" make disaster relief happen sooner?
Big, evil corporations -- WalMart and others -- have donated their own money to helping people. The same organizations that politicians like to demonize picked up the slack when government, even with billions of dollars of other people's money, didn't.
Rather than allowing FEMA to coordinate relief efforts, why don't we allow as many private citizens and companies to help people? Every day we trust that grocery stores will have groceries ready for us to purchase; yet in emergencies we cannot trust that government will provide us with effective disaster relief. Perhaps the problem is that government is already taking your money, while the grocery store must continue to earn it.