Five years ago, Americans were horrified to witness the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, which ripped through the Gulf Coast and put New Orleans underwater. Afterward, IWF held an event  in which experts considered what had been learned from the disaster, and the problems that the Hurricane exposed.

It’s interesting, because I read some of the commentary summing up what the analysts identified–the problem of poverty, and policies and a culture hat had facilitated a destructive dependence on government–I’m struck by how a similar assessment could be made of what’s happen since the economic crisis of 2008.

Turns out it isn’t just what was referred to as an “underclass” that has grown dependent on government, but bankers, home owners and a business world that assumed that government would be able to save them: either by direct bailouts or by pumping government money into the economy to re-inflate whatever bubble popped. It’s increasingly apparently that the manipulating the economy isn’t so easy.

From the oil spill to Katrina, Americans have witnessed government’s inability to address disasters. From the first stimulus to the latest stimulus, we’ve also seen that government isn’t so good at solving economic problems either, and often creates many new problems in the process. Instead of promoting the idea that government can act as everyone’s savior, policymakers should try to refocus government on performing the few tasks that its actually intended for and encourage greater self-reliance among individual Americans, as well as businesses.