Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Foundations of a Nation At Risk

This is not the time for half-measures.

You know the places, you know the situation. Major U.S. Cities are flooded, in ruins, and that is no exaggeration. These are the kinds of disasters that make history, and not always in stories that yield happy endings.

Let me make one thing clear- This situation could not be graver, nor the need for leadership greater.

I have folks living up that way, family that lived and still lives in Lousiana. Happily, no one in my immediate family lived in the worst hit regiions, but still, things were too close for comfort for my family.

This is not a situation that's going to take care of itself, that the market will recover from. This is a situation that carries with it grave consequences.

First and foremost, we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands, people stranded and trapped in the flooding neighborhoods, and a major U.S. City quickly turning itself into the lake. Earnest measures are not enough. Heroic measures are necessary.

Second, there is a major infrastructural crisis at work here. The cities are obiviously the primary centers of this crisis. Major highway arteries have been compromised, gas and electric power completely nonfunctional, and expected to be as such for periods that are being measured by months. All the things we take for granted are not working, and this failure will have serious consequences. The Secondary problems of this particular part of the crisis will be felt by us. New Orleans is a major port, a major industrial center, a hub for transportation, and one of the major centers for refining. Additionally, a large number of the Gulf oil exploration has taken place off that part of the Gulf Coast. The expectation, as I hear it, is that we might see gas prices head up around four dollars a gallon.

Third, this has the potential to become a major economic crisis for the rest of the nation. The Destruction carries with it costs, carries with it bankruptcies, defaults, losses in income, unemployment, and many other costs. The widespread nature of this disaster makes it even worse.

What does this all mean? We cannot afford to wait around, we cannot afford to be cheap or lazy about reconstruction. This is going to really kick the hell out of this country, and if we fail to get our act together on this disaster, we will be feeling the consequences of our inaction for some time to come.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 31, 2005 1:00 PM