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26.9.05

Stuck on stupid II: The Golden Rule

We sure know how to win friends and influence enemies in Louisiana. After our Democrat political leaders, joined by Republican Sen. David Vitter, criticize the federal government for a month, they then ask the federal government for $250 billion for reconstruction, of which $40 billion is for Army Corps of Engineers projects – waiving any state matching requirement.

To put this into perspective:

  • The $250 billion is not far behind the $350 billion estimated spent on the military aspects and their aftermath of the war of terror since Sep. 11, 2001 – which means in reconstruction terms (leaving out the actual war-making expenses), Louisiana actually is asking for more than countries with 10 times its population which face far more damage.
  • The $40 billion is ten times the annual Corps budget, and 100 times the annual amount typically received by Louisiana which gets more such funding than any other state.
  • Also, it is nearly three times the size of the entire request for coastal restoration efforts in the state.
  • Finally, it is over 13 times the present annual state budget, and around 125 times the present annual capital outlay budget.

    Making matters worse is the pork-laden nature of the request, including such favorites as the project which Sen. Mary Landrieu intervened with which potentially took money away from flood protection for New Orleans and the boondoggle, unnecessary Industrial Canal lock. (Worse, it seems that one of the contributors to the flooding was having the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet channel open, where opponents of the lock’s rebuilding have argued that the Port of New Orleans has deliberately kept the channel open as a bargaining chip for the lock’s rebuilding. The proposal neglects to mandate this closure.)

    In addition, $50 billion of it would being the form of open-ended grants, while $13 billion would go to roads (does that have anything to do with the fact that, over 15 years later, the state still hasn’t finished most road projects it promised to do with a special gasoline tax? Nice, confidence-inspiring track record.) And more extraneous requests are in there – and this does not include the extra social benefits already being paid out by the federal government to displaced people.

    And who would control the disbursement of this money? It seems the nine-person panel would have a Louisiana majority.

    So, let’s get this straight. Louisiana, from some of her federal officials through some state officials all they way down to city and other local governments, countenanced negligence from benign to irresponsible in ensuring proper flood protection and in dealing with hurricanes. And now these same people have formulated a plan wanting the country to pay an incredible sum of money to the state controlled by people from the state to deal with the aftereffects and, apparently, Louisiana’s past inability to utilize our resources efficiently in other areas?

  • The rest of the country is going to look at this and think we’re still stuck on stupid. A little realism, where we look less like unreformed junkies asking for fix because of problems in part we helped to create in our own lives, would be in order in such a request. Remember, after all, the golden rule.

    11 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Since the Bush administration seems to favor no bid reconstruction, I am not sure why the carping here. Over budget? What of the cuts made to the Corps of Engineering previous to the hurricance?

    When in doubt, call in Haliburton. I hate to say this, but what is taking place is simply that which has been going on over and over in many parts of our nation. Hence, the huge deficit, which now makes the Other White Meat--ie, Pork--so obvious.

    Now we can turn to see how those other states hit by the hurricane and run by GOP will refuse huge handouts...

    Anonymous said...

    This has nothing to do with bids or contracts. It's about corrupt local leaders. But hey, we all love to bash Bush?!?

    Anonymous said...

    I guess there are two competing schools of thought - if you don't ask for anything you won't get anything; and if you act greedy, you'll get less. Count me in the second camp. When Louisiana starts to act as though it's addressing its problems -- governmental as well as infrastructural -- I'll lend a hand. Until then, why should I do the state's work for it?

    Anonymous said...

    Throwing money to Louisiana politicians is like giving liquor to alcoholics.

    Charging Rhino said...

    If that is the position of "responsible" Louisiana politicans, then better to depopulate NOLA and just leave the French Quarter, the Garden District and the Port of New Orleans behind new levees...and the rest of the city's ruins return to the swamp. It'll be cheaper to relocate NOLA's residents elsewhere and levee around the universities, hospitals and business districts that can be salvaged to create a much smaller NOLA that can survive the next hurricane, and the one after that.

    DANEgerus said...

    How shameless? Let me multiply the ways... from Corrupt Gov Blanco(D), to Sen. Landrieu(D)'s brother the Lt. Gov Landrieu(D), to etc etc...

    New Orleans flooded after a pair of 'misses' by Hurricanes as a direct result of the poor leadership and planning of exactly the people now demanding we pay.

    If people in New Orleans want to live behind Levees in homes 8 feet below sea level in a Hurricane strike zone... fine...

    If people in New Orleans scream 'Racist' to intimidate me into paying for rebuilding their houses they've placed behind Levees 8 feet below sea level in a Hurricane strike zone I say back to them:

    People in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Texas that actually got HIT by hurricanes aren't doing any complaining and race-baiting.

    Porkopolis said...

    Senator Landrieu said, "It's all vital. There's not anything in here that we would consider a wish list or pie in the sky. This is what we really believe is is essential."

    Yeah, right. I looked through the bill she submitted, 440 pages, and immediately started picking out things that looked like a wish list.

    I know Louisiana is hurting, but it seems like Landrieu-Vitter are starting to export B.S. to get their economy back on track.

    the guru said...

    Jeff,
    Thank you for articulating this point so clearly. I am just a taxpayer in another state. This PC world had me thinking that no one would speak up against these requests for "aid" but it is nice for someone from LA to put it in perspective. The loss on a human level is a tragedy and humans need to help. The boondoggle and the bureaucratic level should not be excacerbated by folks that are S.O.S. (stuck on Stupid)

    Anonymous said...

    Those who question the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level are met with howls of ridicule and denounced as racists, but nontheless those same critics expect us to put up $250,000 Million to rebuild the city and then want us to leave them alone.

    Yes, in this country anyone has the right to build a home below sea level. Now it seems that they not only have the right to build in such a risky area, but also it is the duty of everyone else to rebuild it for him when the inevitable happens.

    After spending and looting the $250 billion and shunning outside supervision, they will not hesitate to raise the same, or greater, demands the next time it floods.

    Remember, it's not a question of "if the levee breaks," but rather "when the levee breaks."

    Anonymous said...

    Having so far 9 comments on this article is great. I wish everyone who reads this would send an e-mail to their Louisiana Representative and tell them we don't want to rebuild the New Orleans Political Power Machine. Our Northwest Louisiana reps have had to horse trade votes with this New Orleans bunch to get their support when needed. Now they need us.

    I see this as our opportunity to force a change for the better by removing the "good old boy network
    of New Orleans. Let's be sure to keep an eye and both hands on the cookie jar lid.

    Jimmy Couvillion

    Anonymous said...

    I've just sent a letter to Vitter and told him that if supports the "pork" that Sister Senator Mary has poured into the 440 pages then he has lost 2 votes from this household. I would have thought he had the backbone and courage to help the people but not "rape" the nation that has poured out love and help to our state and we prove to be a greedy bunch. df