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Whew. That was the general reaction when President Barack Obama told waterlogged New Jersey that “we are here for you.” After all, these days, a president is expected to “be here.” Federal rescue is the American Way. Being there starts with helping to clear the flooded metropolitan-area tunnels between New Jersey and New York. But the concept extends to bridges, roads and all the other infrastructure challenges up and down the Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy. Such rescue seems like a no-brainer during crises. Yet the misty deification of Washington as exclusive rescuer isn’t necessarily warranted. In fact, the U.S. suffers from a collective and politically induced amnesia that obscures the reality: There are many American ways to build infrastructure and manage it in emergencies. In the past, state and regional governments often managed disasters. Even businesses ran big domestic rescues. Read More
Matthew Denhart is an expert on immigration policy and is the author of the Bush Institute’s America's Advantage: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics, now in its third edition. He currently serves as executive director of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and is a founder of the Coolidge Scholars Program which provides full-ride merit scholarships to America's most promising college students. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Denhart has written and spoken widely on a variety of policy topics including the economics of higher education, labor, and taxes. He has contributed articles to numerous national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, CNN Opinion, and Bloomberg View.Full Bio