Building The New South

The Gulf Coast has been destroyed by what most people now agree is the worst natural disaster in American history. Never before has so large a region been so utterly annihilated. Estimates of the rebuilding cost have grown exponentially, from $6 or $7 billion during the first few days to $150 billion now. Right off the bat, President Bush is seeking $40 billion to begin the rebuilding effort. No doubt we will have more accurate estimates in the months to come, but it is clear that a gigantic sum of public, non-profit, and private money will be spent to help Gulf Coast residents get their lives back. But how should it be spent?

With the caveat that these are preliminary thoughts in the preliminary stages of redevelopment, I offer some principles that governments and non-profits can follow to stretch their dollars farthest and create a sustainable long-term solution for the New Gulf Coast.

(1) Use market mechanisms. There is nothing more ineffective than money spent by fiat. Capitalist governments can somehow lapse into communism during a disaster, suddenly believing that they know best how to spend the people's money. The principle application of this is that victims should not be forced to return to the Gulf Coast in order to receive assistance. Those who wish to move away should be able to take some of the money that would have been spent on them along to their new homes. To do otherwise will perpetuate poverty by funneling those dependent on outside money into an area they might not otherwise choose.

(2) Compensate in accordance with loss. In the short run, the poor were hardest hit, and are accordingly receiving most of the short-term assistance. In the long run, however, property-owners have paid the biggest toll. A rebuilding program that focuses on rental housing and public-sector buildings will yield a region artificially dependent on outside money.

(3) Repeat after me: Big business is beautiful. Big business is big jobs, big construction money, and big municipal taxes. This doesn't mean that municipalities or states should prostitute themselves by offering huge tax incentives, but rather that businesses should be given wider-than-usual latitude to pick locations, buy property, and build facilities. Every regulation reduces the efficiency of industry and its job-creating power; right now, the Gulf Coast needs industry to be as efficient as it possibly can be. Secondly, governments should teach their money to follow the private money. As George Friedman writes for STRATFOR, the geographic importance of New Orleans dictates that a port must exist there. So industry will have to return to the region, and where and how it spends its money will be a good clue to bureaucrats of how best they can spend theirs.

(4) Get out as soon as possible. Outsiders, government and otherwise, should make it a point to give control of local institutions back as soon as possible. This is a basic tenet of international development, and the need for locally-led civil society is no less within our borders.

(5) Expect civility; punish lawbreaking. The saddest part, to me, of this whole disaster has been the Hobbesian response by many of the victims. Unlike New Yorkers after 9/11, they have been seen as selfish and roguish, lacking in social restraints. This may be an unfair media portrayal; I have no way of knowing. But assuming it is correct, people at all levels of society should demand high standards from those they encounter. The New Gulf Coast will be built of concrete and timber, but its real foundation must be the social contract that allows people to live in community with others.

(6) Allow for change. Don't assume the way things were was the best way. In a region as poor and vulnerable as the Gulf Coast, this should be self-evident, but it probably isn't. For instance, could we build parts of the new New Orleans on higher ground than the old one? The redevelopment effort shouldn't be a $150 billion CTRL+Z! Follow the examples of Chicago and San Francisco, and build something better in the place of what was destroyed.

*****

In closing, let me paint a picture of what will happen if the opposite is done. New Orleans and other cities will become a parody of their former selves; a crude imitation. Without new ideas, the old problems - both geographical and social - will be recreated, but the soul of cities will be diminished. A boom of public housing construction will make the Big Easy the easiest place to be unemployed and unproductive, and a few years after the units are shown glistening on TV screens they will be as run down and vacant as public housing anywhere. With heavy taxes, environmental restrictions, and red tape, business will be sluggish. Operations will be moved overseas if possible, and fewer and worse jobs will exist in the old population centers. What private redevelopment there is will occur out in the exurbs, with atomized SUV suburbs taking the place of now-unattractive downtowns. Without much aid, small business, hotel and luxury apartment owners will leave their lots vacant, or sell them to Target, or skimp on the rebuilding. And the rest of the U.S. will not see any benefit from their funds; no new residents, no new ideas, no New Orleans - at least not the one we knew and loved.

Is this an ugly picture? Yes, but not unrealistic. I was in decrepit Niagara Falls yesterday, and a great many other rust belt cities lie in very much the same condition. The opportunity to reverse New Orleans' three-decade decline, and to uplift many poor Gulf Coast communities, is upon us. Let's turn Katrina to good.

Posted by Chops at September 6, 2005 6:13 PM
Comments
Comment #78523

Good ideas, now if only the government would read them and then follow them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 6, 2005 7:06 PM
Comment #78524

Chops, I sure hope before Bush starts handing out 40 billion to the likes of Haliburton for rebuilding, that a plan is developed to insure the building that is done is safe from another Cat 5.

Is it prudent to rebuild an Atlantis on sinking ground and invite a million people to move back into it? Hmmm… I know throwing good money after bad is a Bush administration trademark, but, these new deficits will have to be paid off by my daughter’s work life. I would like to be able to tell her that her payroll deductions are not being thrown into a sinking pit.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 6, 2005 7:09 PM
Comment #78527

Great points, Chops.

My hopes for a new-and-improved gulf coast are slim, though. This area has been firmly in the hands of left-wing pro-socialist leadership for a very long time. These same local leaders (Mayor, Governor) sat back and pointed the finger of blame, LITERALLY while the people they are responsible for died. They eat, sleep, and breathe their way through life believing that all good things come from the federal government. No wonder these same ignoramuses sat helpless (albeit not silently) and waited for FEMA - which was, and is, NOT meant to be a first responder, localities are - to “do something”. Unless this leadership is tossed out on their respective rumps and replaced with local leadership a little LESS concerned with appearing on every t.v. show possible (60 minutes, etc;) and a litte MORE concerned with rolling up shirtsleeves and getting some actual WORK done in their own backyard, the gulf coast will be rebuilt as a caricature of itself. Local leadership dropped the ball, let’s not hand 160 Billion (or more) over to these same yahoo’s. May (insert the Higher Power Of Your Choice here) bless the sweet, innocent babies and children affected by this disaster; shame on the parents and local officials who allowed so many of them to suffer and/or die due to lack of planning and personal responsibility.
BTW… when did we go from “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” to “Thanks for the bus ride to Dallas. How do I get my welfare check?”

Posted by: missjoy at September 6, 2005 7:17 PM
Comment #78534

She quotes a Democratic President proudly as she demeans the capacity of Democrats. That’s rich!

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 6, 2005 7:36 PM
Comment #78539

That’s the point.

Remer, I rarely agree with you but you’re usually brighter than that.

Cheers!

Posted by: missjoy at September 6, 2005 7:50 PM
Comment #78547

1)Use the markets when they are quick enough to help the recovery, otherwise use the power of the Federal government. Return people to their homes whenever possible, so they aren’t a burden to other states and municipalities.

2)Compensate according to need, so people aren’t having to fight both the battle to rebuild, an the battle to keep their heads above water. Many of the people who lost more property and more money had insurance and wealth to spare. If you do not stop the poorer individuals from sliding, you will end up having to deal with these individuals as burdens on the state.

3)Again, Rebuild the infrastructure, and this time give it additional protection from storms like this

4)Get out when people can take on the burdens of everyday life themselves. Encourage independence, but don’t play sink or swim games with a region on the edge of collapse.

5)The WTC attack was violent, localized, and over not long after it began. Within a couple hours of the planes hitting the building, it was all over, and the sectors of the city hit were secured by local authorities.

New Orleans was not so lucky. A hard, solid response should be made to get NOLA under control, where necessary. That said, we should remind ourselves that these are Americans we are dealing with, and excesses and prejudices in the pacifying of NOLA will reflect painfully on us as a nation.

6)I am in agreement. If you come down to Galveston sometime, you will find that the city was rebuilt higher, with a very large seawall along the gulf. The city used to be low to the gulf. 1906’s CAT 5 hurricane proved the folly of that. Reasonable measures should be taken to absorb the blows that mother nature brings, keeping in mind that no design can be 100% on this.

It is crucial that we not treat this recovery as if its going to work itself like some miracle. We should pay attention to market forces, but we shouldn’t let them shape things without having to compete with our knowledge of what is necessary, and what is right.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 6, 2005 8:28 PM
Comment #78561

WELL SAID

Posted by: Norman L Evans at September 6, 2005 9:45 PM
Comment #78577

Where are the free market voices? Nature has spoken! Don’t build on the coast below sea level. Don’t build where nature will wipe you away. If you do, buy insurance and don’t expect a hand out.

This may sound harsh, but this disaster was inevitable. Help the people, yes. Rebuild a city that will wash away in 10 years? Not with my money. $40000000000 is alot of money better spent elsewhere.

Posted by: Dave at September 6, 2005 10:08 PM
Comment #78584

David said:

Is it prudent to rebuild an Atlantis on sinking ground and invite a million people to move back into it? Hmmm… I know throwing good money after bad is a Bush administration trademark,

David, arent you one of the left who complained that Bush had cut the money to the Corp of Engineers & FEMA. Wouldnt that have bee throwing good money?

Perplexed

Posted by: Perplexed at September 6, 2005 10:18 PM
Comment #78595

Considering that Halliburton is handling the reconstruction, I am sure it will be another 10% Profit-Guaranteed, non-auditable Contract like in Iraq.

Posted by: Aldous at September 6, 2005 10:39 PM
Comment #78599

Guess what Aldous, Haliburton is in business to make money. Just like Heinz Ketchup.

Would you work for nothing?

Perplexed

Posted by: Perplexed at September 6, 2005 10:47 PM
Comment #78616

Perplexed-
Just a curiosity, but you do know that Neither Kerry or his wife make money off that business, don’t you?

I just wonder: Do you have a problem with companies making money when they’re cheating the taxpayer? meals for our soldiers are running about 20 dollars a plate. When’s the last time you paid that much for a meal? This is what Halliburton charges us for every meal and every soldier.

Just change the subject again, before you have to stipulate the meaning of the details.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2005 12:07 AM
Comment #78618

Stephen?

Halliburton supplies meals for the troops in Iraq? I didn’t know that…honestly. Do you have cites for that or are you just making that up. I thought Halliburton was a company that searched for energy sources. More specifically oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels. They also do some infrastructure work as well, but mostly energy exploration. I’m sure that the libs can educate me that my friends that I went to college with are working for the devil and not engineering our future of POSSIBLE energy independence. Info please…and facts…not just accusations and numbers.

lastly, Mrs. and Mr. Teresa Heinz don’t make ANY money off the old ketchup bottle? Can you prove that too? b/c that’s REALLY tough to believe.

Posted by: Robert at September 7, 2005 12:27 AM
Comment #78621

Here’s a generic article on Halliburton’s subsidiary, KBR, & its activities in Iraq.

“KBR was awarded the logistical contract with the military in December 2001, covering tasks from feeding US troops to delivering mail, doing laundry and building barracks.”

Source: www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200507/s1408618.htm

Posted by: phx8 at September 7, 2005 1:04 AM
Comment #78622

that article does not say it costs $20 a meal.

Posted by: Robert at September 7, 2005 1:07 AM
Comment #78623

So how are we going to pay for NO? $40 billion for a rebuilding effort, in addition to $10.5 billion already approved. I’m in favor of providing funds, but I’m just wondering how the rebuilding will be paid for. Borrow & spend?

Because Congress is about to pass a substantial tax cut for the very wealthiest families in America when it repeals the estate tax.

Hey, anyone care to make a bet? I’ll bet not one person who died in New Orleans has a family that would benefit from repealing the estate tax.

Posted by: phx8 at September 7, 2005 1:10 AM
Comment #78624

1) I agree with Chops, the free market is the way to go, but the government needs to fix the roads and common infrastructure first.

2) Rebuilding on below sealevel ground is not as crazy as it seems as first. The Levee’s did not fail, no matter what they say on the TV. The canal failed, it had 2 ft walls, the levves have 6 to 8 ft walls. The Dutch have thrived below sealevel for 400 years.

3) How about declaring New Orleans an enterprise tax free zone for about ten years! It would take some careful phrasing to make sure the companies didn’t take advantage of it, but, if done carefully, it could attract new investment into the area.

What do the rest of you think?

Posted by: DuaneG7872 at September 7, 2005 1:20 AM
Comment #78627

so for all those who blame people for living in new orleans…

where should they live?

i live in california, and i know full well that earthquakes happen, and i rather enjoy them. however, i also have earthquake insurance to protect my belongings, at least financially. should i not love this state just cause it’s a little shaky?

the northeast is plagued by hellish winters, should they all move south?

the midwest is plagued by tornados, should they all move too? we more often see the destruction of tornados over hurricanes, so, should they get some personal responsibility and move somewhere safe?

where is safe?

if you want to blame them for being poor and not getting out of the city in time, well that’s on you…

have fun in kansas….

Posted by: views at September 7, 2005 3:09 AM
Comment #78641

“Thanks for the bus ride to Dallas. How do I get my welfare check?”

May I suggest getting in the same line that corporate America gets in when they recieve theirs.

It seems to be a little more efficient.

Posted by: dtom21 at September 7, 2005 5:53 AM
Comment #78645

Missjoy,
Just because NO and the surrounding area has been Democratic for over a hundred years does not mean they do not deserve Their Government to surrender assistant. Using your Logic and Reason, Flordia, Texas, and the entire Mississippi Region flooded in 1993 should of never been rebuilt or funded by President Clinton.

Wait until the facts come out in the upcoming hearings over this debuckale and than ask yourself why did the political party that is suppose to stand for State’s Rights wanted those States to give Absolute Authority to The Federal Government.

As far as rebuilding the area and paying for, currently evey Working Consumer will be resonsible for approx. $1,000.00 ($40+$10.5 Billion dollars) if our government borrows the necessary funds from The U.S. Federal Reserve. So future tax cuts are now in limbo and that dollar you are holding will most likely drop another dime in value. No, neither the Republicans or The Democrats have got a clue on what is in the inherent best interest of Every Consumer in America and the prosperity that can come out of this National Disaster.

Given their track record over the last forty years, I have no doubt that companies like Haliburton will hire Illegal Aliens, exploit the Working Poor, and increase Taxes on The Rich to pay for the mess. Yet, given the fact that a Trillion dollars (or $6,250.00/Working Consumer) plus will be needed to exucute the restoration plans like Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana., replace infrastructure, and provide Economic Incentives for Businesses maybe The Republican Party will take the responsibilty of using this time to allow America to fulfill The Intent of The Law governing Corporations. But at last, ignorance and lack of political will to change American Society for the better will cost your Children their Future unless both sides wake up to Reality and take on The Monster created in the 70’s by Our Elders and Parents.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 7, 2005 6:49 AM
Comment #78653

Robert-
I can do better than give you a citation. I can give you the whole documentary about it!

PBS - Frontline - Private Warriors

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2005 8:11 AM
Comment #78656

I find it funny that Republicans want to throw money into NO when they are so much against Big Government. It was Republican “Big Government” that slashed FEMA’s Budget. Now the GOP can’t breathe fast enough to throw money at the problem.

Posted by: Aldous at September 7, 2005 8:25 AM
Comment #78659

Duane,

The Dutch don’t have hurricanes.

Views,

I don’t think anyone is blaming people for living in NO. I think the debate is whether to rebuild and who is to pay.

Henry,

The $1T wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t spend half of it in Iraq and $3T in a payoff to the drugCo’s and …

Posted by: Dave at September 7, 2005 8:33 AM
Comment #78661

I say spend the money to completely level the city. Put it under water and use the 140 Billion to relocate the residents and let them start a new fresh life in communities across the US.
Parishes, churches, synagogues, and mosques should come together and invite the displaced denizens and help them adjust to relocating. If every parish and church based group in the country took in 1 family. We would save the burden on the taxpayers and also start new lives and a new future for everyone.

Posted by: Joe at September 7, 2005 8:40 AM
Comment #78673

How many people have been ‘displaced’?
Many of them have already said they are NOT going back.
Many have already realized that they have a chance to start a new life in a new place and it may become better than what they had before.
Many have, or are, planning to join family in other parts of the country and start over.
It could take years before some can even think about moving back - why would they? They won’t if they have settled into a new life and don’t want to take the chance of going through another Katrina.
I am speaking of those who were not well off in New Orleans and the other coastal towns destroyed.
Many will sit in shelters or housing provided by the government collecting there checks and wait until their new public housing is built.
Those who owned property and had their uninsured house destroyed, should be able to sell their land to the government (if they can’t find a buyer)and at least be given a down payment on a new home if they don’t want to return.
Our country cannot afford to rebuild every home destroyed.
Those who lived in public housing or rental properties should be provided a voucher to get them into a new rental. When provided with the voucher - they should also receive information on schooling and be given in-state tuitions to go to college - NOT just a welfare check.
These people have a chance for a better life. Hopefully most will take advantage of this and never end up in the poorest part of town again - no matter where they choose to live.
I say DO NOT rebuild the ‘worst’ part of that city. DO NOT rebuild another place where people are so poor and have few opportunities to get ahead.
The goal should be to help these people have a better life - not rebuild and send them back to what they had - high unemployment and the belief they would never do any better.
From ‘displaced’ to ‘best placed’(for lack of a better term).


Posted by: bugcrazy at September 7, 2005 9:23 AM
Comment #78679

bugcrazy, most of the poorest parts of New Orleans became so precisely because of free market forces. The low lying areas of N.O. saw property values drop again and again as the years went by, and more and more information became widely known about the risks of being housed in a low lying area.

These free market forces undermining property values in those areas acted to magnetize those areas for low income families and workers. Thus they became concentrated in the areas of greatest risk in N.O. We have know for about 2 decades now about the research results which show integrated income levels withing single communities and neighborhoods stabilize not only the property values but, the responsible and maintenance oriented behaviors of the residents who live there.

I hope these politicians whose area of expertise is cheap talk, will do their homework and seek out the researchers of urban and community design and take from them the best knowledge available to incorporate that information into plans for rebuilding. And if the Army Corps of Engineers cannot guarantee NO future against these storms, then consideration to moving N.O. to safer ground, perhaps north of Lake Ponchatrain.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 7, 2005 10:06 AM
Comment #78681

Joe, the only problem with that idea is the energy and port industries located in and around N.O. They must be maintained and that requires workers, and workers require families, and families require homes, and stores, and recreational areas, and cultural events, and schools.

N.O. may not have to be rebuilt in that sink hole, but another city will grow around industries there, and it will have to within a commute to the jobs available.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 7, 2005 10:09 AM
Comment #78683

dave, quite right. A lot Republicans talked of fiscal responsibility and eliminating deficit spending and reducing our national debt (as have Democrats) for the express purpose of having the ability to go into debt for a catastrophe like this.

This administration and GOP leadership in Congress wouldn’t listen. Now we are at 8 Trillion national debt, with legislation on the books that will take us to 10 trillion, and not Katrina could easily move that figure to 11 Trillon national debt. Voters will have a choice in 2006. They can vote incumbents responsible for all of this back in, or send all incumbents and message by voting for NO incumbents. I intend to make sure my vote communicates that the past track record of Democrats and Republicans alike is completely unacceptable. I will vote Mickey Mouse before I vote an incumbent back into office.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 7, 2005 10:16 AM
Comment #78704

Everyone please.. I am seeing signs of what I fear everyday. Believing what you see and hear on TV. I hope this area stays smarter and better informed.
The statements made about poverty and the 9th ward being left to flood because it was poor is bogus.
Yesterday on my way home from I was listening to Public Radio and they were interviewing a resident of the 9th ward. Her statements exactly…
“People need to realize that this is not the poor poverty stricken community you see on TV!. This is the largest community of black HOMEOWNERS in Louisianna, These are mostly professional people. We have chosen to live here because this where our families and our churches were.”
-she and her family members of 22 strong now relocated to Austin until the floodwaters receed.

We are better than the propoganda.. I thought we looked further for the truth. Don’t regurgitate information you receive from the leftists.

Posted by: Joe Zeek at September 7, 2005 11:18 AM
Comment #78715

I expect those who were able to take of the themselves, and not rely on the government, to go back.
I expect those who basically had no chance at a better life, but wanted one, to stay away and try to make something of themselves.
Those who were ‘caught up’ in the ‘cycle’ of poverty and saw no way out will hopefully have the chance to break the ‘cycle’ now.
I predict? that the ‘new’ New Orleans will begin with a population of people who will not be relying on the government for a welfare check each month.
The high unemployment rate that they had will not exist and the fact that the unemployed will be spread out across the country will make it easier to get them jobs to get started again.
More time and energy need to be focused on these issues.
BUT
The blame game will go on and since it is politically motivated it will get the most attention.
This is another area where we Americans will screw up. Focusing on the political blame game and putting the actual problems of our people, and the solutions to them, on the back burner while our Politicians focus on their survivals as Politicians and the most important thing - the survival of their parties and their need for power.
Neither party has all the solutions and people have to stop believing that the answer is getting ‘their’ party in power. Both sides. They are more interested in keeping their ‘party machines’ running than making sure the rest of us get what we need.
Does anyone know how many ‘jobs’ exist simply because of the ‘party machines’? I am speaking of ‘political jobs’ from the politicians down to all the people that help keep them in office. How many jobs does it take to keep these well oiled machines running? What would the unemployment rate be if these parties didn’t employ so many ‘experts’ and analysts?

Posted by: bugcrazy at September 7, 2005 11:49 AM
Comment #78735

Hey, anyone care to make a bet? I’ll bet not one person who died in New Orleans has a family that would benefit from repealing the estate tax.

And I’ll give you 100 to 1 odds!

I’ll also bet that Bush’s ultimate “aid” package consists of many, many “tax breaks” to help “people” rebuild, when the population that arguably suffered the most from this disaster — the poor of New Orleans — are the ones who won’t benefit by any such tax breaks.

Posted by: steve at September 7, 2005 12:34 PM
Comment #78740

Unless I am mistaken not only has New Orleans and the surrounding area been Democratic for over a hundred years, it also has earned a reputation for having the most corrupt political machine in the country.

It will be interesting to discover if any of that corruption will be uncovered during the investigation of the hurricane blame game.

Posted by: steve smith at September 7, 2005 12:42 PM
Comment #78778

Corrupt governments tend to operate the same, regardless of party. If you can get Republican officials in there who do things right, more power to you. The Federal response might be an impediment to Republican inroads into the system. Still, if there are corrupt Democrats in there, I’d be more than pleased to see a higher caliber of people represent my party in that locale.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2005 2:09 PM
Comment #78820

We will have to wait until the investigation to expose corruption if there is any. It would have to be Democrats because that’s all there is.

The Republicans would love the opportunity to clean up the corruption however, if there is any.
We have experience with that sort of thing.

Posted by: steve smith at September 7, 2005 4:40 PM
Comment #78869

Stephen Daugherty
Just a curiosity, but you do know that Neither Kerry or his wife make money off that business, don’t you?


And the Popes Jewish.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 7, 2005 7:02 PM
Comment #78896

you sent me a link for a Frontline expose? That’s rich. That’s really strecthing it to think that that isn’t biased at all.

nice try though

Posted by: Robert at September 7, 2005 10:06 PM
Comment #78939

Why is everyone concentrating on LA and more specifically NO? That’s not the only place that was affected by Katrina you know. Mississippi, Alabama, and other places were hit hard as well. There are more people in need than just those in NO.

Cherish

Posted by: Cherish at September 8, 2005 9:34 AM
Comment #78947

can’t we all just get along
no really can’t we stop this my party is right and remember the good as americans not political parties

Posted by: Joe P at September 8, 2005 10:36 AM
Comment #78975

Henry Schlatman,

In response to what you wrote… pardon me for taking a couple of days. It took me a while to figure out if you were speaking english.

You wrote: “Just because NO and the surrounding area has been Democratic for over a hundred years does not mean they do not deserve Their Government to surrender assistant.”

What?????
I have decided to assume you might have meant: “Just because N.O. and the area have been voting in Democratic leaders doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve their government to render assistance.” (If you meant something else, let me know.)
To answer that statement: People deserve to reap the rewards or consequences of living under the representation they have put into place in their own locality, be that New Orleans, or Louisiana or Alabama (or Mexico or Iraq). They elected those boneheads who did not choose to spend tax dollars on improving their own area’s preparedness, or on making a clear and simple plan of action in the case of a storm THEY KNEW WAS COMING. I have no idea WHAT they spent their tax dollars on locally but I know it wasn’t in preparing adequate shelter and relief.

You went on: “Using your Logic and Reason, Flordia, Texas, and the entire Mississippi Region flooded in 1993 should of never been rebuilt or funded by President Clinton”

And to you I say: HELLO. President Clinton DIDN’T fund the rebuilding of the area. WE, people like me, and presumably you, our tax dollars, and charitable donations, did. Do I believe that the Federal Government should rebuild homes for people who did not secure adequate insurance for themselves? NO! NO NO NO and again NO, I do NOT. I’m buying my first home this month after 18 years of scrimping and saving and preparing, and do you know what? I AM BUYING ADEQUATE INSURANCE FOR MY OWN DAMN HOUSE. If I don’t, they won’t let me buy the damn house!

And still you continue: “Wait until the facts come out in the upcoming hearings over this debuckale and than ask yourself why did the political party that is suppose to stand for State’s Rights wanted those States to give Absolute Authority to The Federal Government.”

Man, I have NO idea what language you are writing in, my friend. But I CAN tell you that I believe the inevitable “hearings” will be politically motivated by one party so as to assign blame onto the other party. “Hearings” will solve nothing, and will create only bigger, more lame and expensive and ineffective federal bureaucracies like the helmet-wearing, window-lickers we call FEMA and Homeland Security. For which, I might add, my children and my children’s great- great- grandchildren will be paying.

Onward! You say: “As far as rebuilding the area and paying for, currently evey Working Consumer will be resonsible for approx. $1,000.00 ($40+$10.5 Billion dollars) if our government borrows the necessary funds from The U.S. Federal Reserve.”

Ummm. Sorry but it’s too early to know how badly we are going to get financially screwed.

Moving forward! “So future tax cuts are now in limbo and that dollar you are holding will most likely drop another dime in value.”
The only thing that government can do to grow an economy is to cut taxes. Whether they will or not remains to be seen.

Slogging onward thru your post: “No, neither the Republicans or The Democrats have got a clue on what is in the inherent best interest of Every Consumer in America and the prosperity that can come out of this National Disaster.”

Ahhh! Finally we agree!!!! Neither party has a clue what is in the best interest of American citizens. So they should BUTT OUT, let us keep our own damn money, and do what government is supposed to do: Print money, build highways, and create the most fearsome military on the planet. AND NOTHING ELSE.

You continue: “Given their track record over the last forty years, I have no doubt that companies like Haliburton will hire Illegal Aliens…”

In response, I say… what?? Do you have some proof that Haliburton hires Illegals? If so, let’s close Haliburton down and deport those illegals!

“…exploit the Working Poor…”

Exploit the working poor? I AM the working poor! My employer isn’t exploiting me, they’re giving me an opportunity that I am SO grateful for.

“…and increase Taxes on The Rich to pay for the mess.”

The only people exploiting me is the GOVERNMENT spending MY money that I earned by WORKING MY ASS OFF on people who don’t work and programs that make politicians look good come election time.

And finally you’re almost done: “Yet, given the fact that a Trillion dollars (or $6,250.00/Working Consumer) plus will be needed to exucute the restoration plans like Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana., replace infrastructure, and provide Economic Incentives for Businesses maybe The Republican Party will take the responsibilty of using this time to allow America to fulfill The Intent of The Law governing Corporations. But at last, ignorance and lack of political will to change American Society for the better will cost your Children their Future unless both sides wake up to Reality and take on The Monster created in the 70’s by Our Elders and Parents.”

Ummm. I think I might agree? Or I might really disagree.

I don’t think the government should pay to rebuild EVERYTHING. I think several things should happen. People need to assess if what was there is worth rebuilding, and whether rebuilding in a damn soup bowl is a good idea. Then the insurance companies that have been sucking up premiums for decades need to pony up. Those without insurance… well, I hate to say it but lack of planning on THEIR part does not constitute a free-for-all GRAB FEST in MY WALLET. My insurance on my new home is going to cost me about $80/month. I could choose NOT to pay it, and spend that money on going out to dinner, or buying crack cocaine, or whatever people spend their money on rather than renter’s and homeowner’s insurance, but I know that if my house was suddenly blown off the face of the planet, other people/the government wouldn’t pay to rebuild it for me!!! And I have enough character and pride to not ask them to do so. That is not what this country was built on. This country was built on self-reliance and the idea of a SMALL, constitutional, federal government. They intended people to govern, tax, and spend for themselves LOCALLY. (ie: the people who know best what N.O. needed were the leaders IN N.O. Not someone hundreds of miles away in D.C.)

The founders of this country would turn away and retch at the dependance of today’s citizens on the federal tit.

missjoy

Posted by: missjoy at September 8, 2005 11:55 AM
Comment #79053

joe p, not possible in a nation that touts spectator sports as a half trillion dollar industry, and where money opposes ideals in influencing elected leaders decisions. Before Katrina, Republicans were saying those without deserved to be without, just a bunch of fat lazy bumbs. This week, those without are America’s darlings demanding Republicans throw 51 Billion tax dollars out the door with few questions asked. This is American politics, where no hypocrisy is left unused, and no accusation left unturned. Welcome to America.

There are differences between Democrats and Republicans rhetorically, but, when it comes to actually wielding power, there really is no substantial difference. Both spend your money like they printed it whenever desired, both help constituents if it would aid them in elections, and both favor special interests over the nation when no one is looking.

With the parties competing in a government in which both parties share power, Americans aren’t too bad off. But when either one of the parties gets control of the whole shebang, America can kiss representation good-bye. Power is corrupting and absolute power is absolutely corrupt. This is what we are witnessing today.

Watch Congress. The single greatest opportunity to sneak pork barrel spending through on the tail of helping Katrina victims is at hand. Watch closely who benefits, and who doesn’t besides Katrina victims. Haliburton just got a no bid contract - Dick Cheney’s old firm from which he still receives considerable deferred compensation. No bid, means whatever Haliburtion dictates from your pocket, your child’s pocket, and their children when the start paying taxes. See how that works?

Democrats are furious because Republicans won’t share the pie. If it weren’t so injurious to our economic future, it would actually be hilarious.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 8, 2005 4:29 PM
Comment #79056

New Orleans is a Democratic town full of African Americans, Latino immigrants, gays and lesbians and southern white liberals. As a Republican, it has long been frustrating to see a city so blue tipping the political balance in a very red state. Both states to the east, Mississippi and Alabama, have Republican governors and senators and have voted solidly Republican in presidential contests for decades. While President Bush lost New Orleans by a 3-1 margin in his two presidential runs, he carried the Congressional districts that make up southern Alabama and Mississippi by margins of almost 2-1.
All of this will change very quickly in the near future and will be done by the Democrats that control New Orleans. The Dems will use the new Supreme Court ruling on emit domain use to knockdown the poor sections of New Orleans to build a shiny new Atlantis. Why will the Dems do this? They need to prove that they can use the influx of funds, both private and public, to produce something of substantial. This need arises out of their storm control failures. The Shiny new New Orleans will be built with outside dollars and out pace the economy capacity of the former residents. This means that the former residents will be able to afford to live in the new New Orleans and be forced to jobs and housing in other areas. Many may not even return to their stormy past after tasting, in some cases for the first time, life outside of the Big Easy: a life that is not part of the ?dependent lifestyle of their past. The bottom line: the Blue votes of the old New Orleans will be spread across the country and the new New Orleans will be part of the New ?Republican? South. All of this thanks to mother nature and the shortsightedness of the Dems

Posted by: howie at September 8, 2005 4:43 PM
Comment #79063

howie, would have been a helluva lot cheaper to just nuke the city years ago, don’t you think? If N.O. was Republican’s Sodom, then Beverly Hills must be Democrat’s Gahmmora (sp?). Civil war in this country can’t be too far off with thinking like this.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 8, 2005 5:05 PM
Comment #79064

Miss Joy,
Congratulations on purchasing your first home; however, you might want to check and see if you live anywhere near a 100 or 500 year Flood Plain because the insurance demanded by your lender does not require you to have Flood Insurance.

As far as “You reap what you sow” Yes, all of America and the World is seeing just how stupid our Elected Officials were about listening to The Experts on this subject of N.O. However, an Elected Official that holds Public Office represents All Citizens, not the ones they pick and chose. Sure, politics is a dirty game and not for the faint of heart, but once they take the Oath of Office the Person swears to carry out the duty of that Office. The Levees in New Orleans and many other places in America is the Responsibility of the Army Corp of Engineers which answers directly to Congress of The United States not Local and State Officials. Therefore, I guess you mean that The Republican lead Congress that has for the last 4 years denied the Federal Agency the funds needed to properly maintain the levees is at fault.

As far as President Clinton funding the areas effected by the Mississippi in 93’, Well, if I remember correctly it was the Republican Leadership that cried he was spending to much money in that area. Buying homes in flood plains so that we would not have to pay for them to be repaired every year or so when the river flooded was meet by resistance by The Republican Party. Now I know that he did not take the money out of his own pocket, but neither will Bush spend his own money to rebuild The Gulf that we know will be hit again and again by hurricanes. Or do you believe that from Alabama to Texas the entire Shoreline and up to 150 miles inland should not be rebuilt? And the Insurance Companies, they are already crying for Federal Relief again because of the enormous cost. I would willing to bet that even the Oil Companies will ask their friend President Bush for Aid.

Web search “The National Response Plan 2005” and “The Timeline of Katrina” Clearly the political ball and all Authority to act was in the hands of the Director of Homeland Security Mr. Chertoff. Since his position is that of a Cabinet Member, President Bush has to take responsibility for his actions or lack there of. It’s a Point of Law.

The Trillion Dollars plus that will be required to solve the problem is actually a low ball figured if you want a closer figure look up each county and check the tax assessment records. Total the money, apply 20% to the total and add 1-2% for inflation for what will paid by you and me. And for your information, our government does not have to cut taxes to spur the economy. They by Law have the Right to rebuild the entire area under Government Contract. Ask Halliburton, they have the contract for cleaning up the area. And if The Republican Leadership in Congress and President Bush would have the courage to allow INS to check the Employment Records of Halliburton, I can almost guarantee you that they would find major violations of The Law. However, precedence was set with President Reagan that will make that task almost impossible.

As far as you company exploiting you. Unless they are paying you enough to be Economically Viable so that you can afford to buy a Million Dollar Yacht, they are falling short of their duty to their Stockholders and you as a Consumer. But if your happy allowing them to pursue their Happiness while you have sweated for the last 18 years to obtain yours than ok. Myself, I have and will always stand for America moving our Society toward being Unalienable Right Regardless by The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God for that is Self-Evident and our unalienable Right endowed to Every Human by their “Creator.”

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 5:10 PM
Comment #79080

Remer, i did what responsible people do: i DID, in fact, check whether we were anywhere near a flood plain. We’re not. I checked everything I could check and recheck and checked it again.

Whether the levees were the responsibility (and, now, consequently the fault) of federal, state, or local leadership -and I maintain the lion’s share SHOULD BE the responsibility of locals- the fact remains that the people hit the hardest were the people who relied the most on the government and not themselves. So I would NOT say “that The Republican lead Congress that has for the last 4 years denied the Federal Agency the funds needed to properly maintain the levees is at fault”.


As for Clinton vs. Bush in the race to give our country over to illegals and spend everything I and my future generations will ever earn on people who don’t deserve it… they both stink like rotted fish and can go to hell for all I care.

Your reference to Reagan was a cheap shot and I couldn’t disagree with you more. I daresay that, although no president has ever been perfect, if we’d had EITHER JFK OR REAGAN in office during this time, we’d be living in a different (and far better) nation.

And as for this statement: “As far as you company exploiting you. Unless they are paying you enough to be Economically Viable so that you can afford to buy a Million Dollar Yacht, they are falling short of their duty to their Stockholders and you as a Consumer. But if your happy allowing them to pursue their Happiness while you have sweated for the last 18 years to obtain yours than ok.”

My response to that remark is, I believe, at the heart of what will hopefully save America. I am an office mananger and work for two small business-men (each with a wife and four kids a piece) who have gone without their own paychecks to see that I not only got MY paycheck but the additional bonus they promised. I’ve seen them let their own health benefits lapse while still paying for other employee’s health benefits. They put in more hours than all of us, and usually take home less pay than I do, and I know that because I DO THE BOOKS. As a matter of fact, sir, I AM HAPPY here, allowing them to pursue their happiness and dream of owning a small business, because they are the BACKBONE OF THIS NATION. They may never provide me with that yacht you talked about, but over the past 2 years they have provided me with the opportunity to make as much as I can based on how hard I work, and at the end of each day they thank me for my hard work. They pay an unholy amount in taxes. I don’t pay as much as they do but I still think I pay an unholy amount as well. We -the producers- support those who choose to depend and take and demand and then bitch about it all. And someday - god willing may it be soon - people like us will put a stop to this financial hemorrage.

And that brings me back to what this post is all about. Responsibility. I’m going to end up paying for the rebuilding of the gulf coast area, along with all of the millions of other projects I’m paying for through my federal taxes. I’m responsible and I will take care of myself and my family, and I’ll pay my taxes. And I’ll be responsible for contacting everyone I know, and everyone I voted for, and even those I didn’t vote fore, to let them know that I, like so many other responsible people, am SICK of how the federal government is enabling the irresponsible.

Posted by: missjoy at September 8, 2005 6:03 PM
Comment #79086

missjoy said: “Remer, i did what responsible people do: i DID, in fact, check whether we were anywhere near a flood plain. We’re not. I checked everything I could check and recheck and checked it again.”

That is excellent! We did the same thing before buying acreage to build on.

and I maintain the lion’s share SHOULD BE the responsibility of locals-

You may want to rethink that one. The Levees have been the responsibility and in fact owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, making them federal province, not local.

So I would NOT say “that The Republican lead Congress that has for the last 4 years denied the Federal Agency the funds needed to properly maintain the levees is at fault”.

Then you would be wrong. They paid their federal taxes and the federal government made the levees their responsibility. Are you really suggesting the American people have no right to depend upon the federal government for what it says it will do after taking sizeable portions of folks income for doing it? Sorry, sounds preposterous to me.

If I pay a plumber to fix my sink drain, I damn well expect it to stay fixed for the warranted period of time. Army Corps of Engineers undertook to maintain those levees making the warranty on them still valid.

I do agree with you on your disappointment for money taken and not delivered on by our governments. I have an article coming on this subject shortly.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 8, 2005 6:14 PM
Comment #79114

Missjoy,
I am glad that yoy checked to see if you live in a Flood Plain, but do you and me a favor and check with your State Geological Office about the region where you house is. They, by Law, have the ability and capability to test the site and give you a “Clean Bill of Health.” Keep that report with your other important papers so that if a Wild Fire or other Natural Disaster happens you have proof that you did all that you could to ensure that you have the proper insurance.

Many Citizens in N.C. before Dennis & Folyd (hurricanes) believed and was told that their land was safe by their insurance companies only to find after the fact that their homes laid in an Ancient flood zone.

Also, I’m glad you work for Businessmen that want to do what is right by The Law and in their Employees Eyes. Having done advocacy work for The Homeless and Low-Income, I know that while most American business try to do what is right; nevertheless, there are way to many that abuse their employees and their families. Why do you think we have Labor Laws?

However, now that you are about to own a piece of land you might want to check out which government has control over which part of the infrastructure that allows you access to your land and community. Just because a traffic light is in the city limits, the light does not necessarily belong to the city. At the intersection of a Street and a State Route do you know who is responsible for the maintenance and up keep of the traffic light, signs, and other things 10 foot on every side?

The State DOT is and even in the event of a major accident that would take out the lights and cause major damage to the city, the City is helpless to do anything except send a police officer to monitor the situation. And yes it is screwed up, but The Law is The Law and is the major reason why N.O. was screwed once the levees broke.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 8:11 PM
Comment #79758

Hey David

Review the Post by: howie at September 8, 2005 04:43 PM and afterward read, “Katrina Exodus Could Change Political Mix” By NANCY BENAC, an Associated Press Writer

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050911/ap_on_re_us/katrina_politics

Posted by: Howie at September 11, 2005 4:16 PM
Comment #79825

howie, yes, you are correct to point out the political demographic implications. La. may become more Republican and Texas more Democratic, especially in the House seats they represent for the districts represented by N.O., Houston, and San Antonio. But that is easily adjusted for by annual gerrymandering. No worries, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 12, 2005 6:05 AM
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