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In Poor, Rural Communities, Fleeing Hurricane Michael Was Tough (nytimes.com)
48 points by gregorymichael 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments





In this case it appears he had a truck but no license. Seems like taking the risk of getting pulled over and cited for driving without a license is preferable to drowning in a 13ft high storm surge, for me at least.

A risk calculation that's easier for us, seeing the aftermath, and having nothing at risk.

It's hard for people outside the experience of poverty to understand it. It's not just a ticket if you can't afford to pay it, and can't afford time off work to fight it in court.

He could possibly be out on parole or similar, where getting pulled up for driving with no licence or registration could get you sent back to jail.

For many of these people, even if they have a driver's license, the cost of gas and a hotel room is insurmountable. Many have their entire extended families close by so there isn't a cheap "stay with relatives" option that isn't also in the evacuation zone.

During that kind of an evacuation, the cops have worse problems than checking licenses. The risk was probably pretty small, at least during the evacuation itself.

It's depressing how many people depend on meager Social Security checks to to get by in old age.

Not everyone qualifies for SS because either they didn't pay in long or enough. There's thousands of people working well into their 70's and 80's in menial jobs because SS doesn't cover their living expenses. For example, I'm worried about my mom because her finances are dwindling.

Because human activities are error-prone, evacuations cause an increase in fatalities; so any evacuation decision has to be balanced against the risks of sheltering locally.

> evacuations cause an increase in fatalities

Compared to what, not evacuating and having hundreds of thousands (or millions) weather out a major hurricane? That seems doubtful..


Evacuations cause fatalities; both directly, by decreasing compliance with future evacuations (as happens if the situation turns out to be not as dire as advertised), and by hindering even more necessary evacuations in nearby areas.

Non of this is relevant to this case; lack of money shouldn't be the reason people don't evacuate. If the government determines that evacuation is warranted, it should fund an evacutation. (Of course, this policy could backfire if it means the government calling for fewer evacuations).


Because so many survived Katrina by not evacuating?

Keep this up and the whole east coast will be up in arms to stop climate change.

Among other things, the situation in the article is an excellent example of why we need a national ID system instead of the absurd patchwork of different issuers that exist today.

National ID is opposed in the USA (and also in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK) because it's seen as overly intrusive of the government.

It starts as a national ID scheme, and then eventually everything about your life gets centralised into one database, which the government is free to abuse.

I'm also opposed to the idea that you're legally required to carry an ID card at all times, like in many European countries.

This is already happening in Australia with MyGov, which is an online platform for all your government things. As part of MyGov, they've introduced My Health Record, which is single central medical record. Apparently the Australian Taxation Office have been using My Health Record to go after sex workers for tax evasion by searching for people with an abnormally high frequency of STI checks.


Also, it would be a huge waste of time to issue national ID cards now, when we're on the verge of splintering into warring nation states.

Honest Question: ... really?

I'm being glib, but I gotta say that "increased integration" seems like the last thing we need in a country full of people that hate each other.

The enmity doesn't break down on convenient geographical lines; it basically just charts how prosperous the urban centers of each state are.

While Ds and Rs are interspersed within states, I feel like there is a lot more acrimony between states than within them. I feel like Ds in Maryland wouldn't be so upset if they were just dealing with Rs in Maryland (and vice versa).

How would this be represented in the "purple state" craze which started about 10 years ago?

The "purple state" deal seemed "within state purple" on a county level some comments around here seem that that this type of "purple" may erupt into a "next level purple" on a national level as if we don't have that already in terms of "swing states".

So we have "the purple" on the county level, and we have "the swing" on the state level. Out of this combined whirlwind, is there any sense to be made or had?


The fallacy of the "purple state" is that it assumes that red in Maryland is the same as red in Alabama, which is just untrue.

Nobody really takes the time to understand the political situation outside of their immediate surroundings. But the most important part of this is, the geography of partisanship is changing. States change "partisan affiliation" all at once. There are supposedly-blue states that will be red soon, and, in the medium term, several southern Atlantic states are going to go blue.

I think things are too fluid to predict any kind of clear geographic fault line.

What would be interesting would be if a state somehow broke up.


I think this is a very important point. The more that power the is wielded at the Federal level the more that national politics divide the American people. Emphasizing state power, a red state can adopt one policy while a blue state can adopt another, yet each policy has minimal effect on the other, so there is no reason for citizens of either state to care all that much what the other state does. But in a system that emphasizes Federal power (which our system has been trending towards) this indifference is less likely because citizens are forced to live under whichever policy won at the Federal level.

> But in a system that emphasizes Federal power (which our system has been trending towards) this indifference is less likely because citizens are forced to live under whichever policy won at the Federal level

This system has been in place in the US for well over 200 years. The US has a long history of states vs federal government, don't believe the folks who tell you that today is any different in that respect.


The relative influence of state versus federal government has changed quite dramatically over time. In 1930, federal spending was 3.5% of GDP, versus state spending which was 9.1% of GDP. Today, it's 24% federal versus 14.8% state.

Also relatively new is the use of federal constitutional law to overturn local social/moral regulation. Half a century after Roe v. Wade, a supermajority of people in states like Alabama and Mississippi believe that abortion should be illegal in most/all cases. That's for both men and women (who poll similarly on abortion). Meanwhile, voters in Maryland are riled up to take back the Senate to protect Roe, not because there is a danger of abortion becoming illegal in Maryland (where it's supported by voters 2:1), but to make sure it stays legal in Alabama and Mississippi. In retaliation, voters in Alabama and Mississippi have made it harder for women in Maryland or Massachusetts to actually get abortions, by securing a federal ban on funding them (which creates a huge barrier because the federal government bankrolls Medicaid).

In other areas, federal constitutional law was used to strike down lots of moral regulations in conservative states (e.g. on obscenity) that were considered perfectly acceptable at the time of the founding. (Of course, in retaliation, conservatives have figured out how to use the expansive nature of the federal government to hamper the loosening of moral regulation in liberal states, e.g. marijuana laws).


For much of the first 75 years of the United States, the president was very weak, and federal law was generally scarce. There was often not even a standing army.

I'm an outsider looking in, but often you hear "America is simply to big and diverse" as an excuse to not do something every other developed country has done, like socialized medicine. If the country is that ungovernable then why hold it together?

Truth be told, 'big and diverse' is actually a mild euphemism for something much darker. The medical situation is only a symptom. Look at US history before FDR... especially labor conditions. 'And crowned thy good with brotherhood' is only part of the picture.

It sounds like the problem was bureaucracy--Georgia not being able to fix a birth certificate issue without travelling to Georgia. The solution to that is--to nationalize the bureaucracy?

It's not like a nationalized system wouldn't be dependent on administrative subdivisions. In this case, Mr. Bearden's birth information would've still been filed away somewhere in Atlanta. Likewise, any solution that involves getting those records from Atlanta to somewhere else could be implemented just as easily without having a central national ID system.


Seems to work with car registrations. When I was in Kansas City, a police officer was able to run my tag even though I'm from South Carolina. Kind of funny how the government just simply can't do anything that might help the common man, but when it concerns authoritarian tendencies, the motivation is endless.

Leaving aside the politics of a true national ID card, even if there were a national ID card which went beyond a social security card (which many people don't have a physical copy of), there is absolutely no way that the federal government is going to regulate driver's licenses. And that was the issue here.

Of course, we also have a national ID in the form of passports, but a lot of people don't have one.


Passports can’t double as ID because that’d conflict with the primary purpose of passports, passing through borders.

A national ID would presumably be available, or obligatory, to everyone. But countries can and do deny passports or rescind them < the passport is a letter asking the govt of a foreign country to let its citizen in. Sometimes you don’t want a citizen to leave or vouch for him.

Anyways all states I’ve lived in have IDs that are solely IDs


I suppose a happy medium would be making passports much easier to get. Make them completely free to apply for, simplify the paperwork and start automatically printing passports for newborns.

This doesn't solve the issue of people lacking a drivers license but might solve a few others along the way.


> Of course, we also have a national ID in the form of passports, but a lot of people don't have one.

Passports should be issued to citizens free of charge, and could carry driving endorsements as physical and digital metadata (I don't suggest that harmonizing driving credentialing and administration across all 50 states and other US territories is an enormous undertaking, just one that should be done).


Are there countries that issue passports for free now? Tried a quick search and didn't come up with anything fruitful.

Not entirely free, but I did find several countries that charged as little as $15.

> ... there is absolutely no way that the federal government is going to regulate driver's licenses.

While true, it’s also hilarious as they do indirectly regulate speed limits, road composition, vehicle safety features, and emission standards. So basically everything except the person operating the vehicle.


The federal government also indirectly regulates driver's licenses, cf. the Real ID act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_ID_Act).

Very indirect. They have requirements for driver's licenses being used as IDs for federal purposes. (Which is actually not unreasonable although we got by without doing so for many years.)

The issue of course is that their driver's license is the only government-issued photo ID they possess so if they want to fly or enter a federal building without a driver's license, they would need to get a federal ID such as a passport issued which has both monetary and time costs. (And isn't available for everyone.)


Those without many resources are often hit harder than those with abundant resources. The problem in this instance has more to do with bureaucracy than money. It does also show how "valuable" a solider is to the country.



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