The Fires This Time

If Texas Governor Rick Perry deserves credit for Texas’ recent economic performance, does he also deserve the blame for the wildfires?  This year’s fires are reportedly the worst in the state’s history, and there must be a reason for that.  Isn’t it reasonable to assume Texas policies bear some portion of the blame?

I am skeptical of the first claim, for reasons noted here.  The Texas governor is arguably the weakest in the country, and I am unaware of any specific Perry policies that are likely to have encouraged robust job creation. (“Cowboy corporatism” does not count.)  It seems the most that can be said is that Perry has not done anything to get in the way.  That’s something, but it’s hardly lavish praise.

The wildfires are another story.  Texas is relatively unique among states west of the Mississippi in that it does not contain much federally owned land. Therefore, blame for land mismanagement and the buildup of combustible material cannot be placed upon the federal government.  Insfoar as government policies contributed to, or failed to reduce the threat posed by, the recent wildfires, the blame for this resides in Texas.  Why, then, would it be wrong to conclude Gov. Perry should should some of the blame?  And if he does not bear some responsibility, who does?  After all, we know Gov. Perry would never blame it on global warming.

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