Friday, September 09, 2005

Cost of Katrina

Image Via Salon

I heard a very interesting segment yesterday on Al Franken's Show. He had as a guest, columnist Tom Oliphant. If you've not seen him before, Tom is kinda a geeky liberal intellectual looking guy, but he's really quite astute in his political analysis.

Anyway, Tom was discussing just how Bush and Congress have been hiding the cost of the Iraq war by seeking periodic, smaller, appropriations from the Congress. This way, the public is never really made aware in a significant shocking sense of exactly how much the war is costing. They wouldn't want any kind of logic to get in the way of pushing for further tax cuts, so the public is spoon fed the real cost.

Now we have Katrina and New Orleans. It appears that the administration and GOP are doing the same thing. First there was an emergency $10 billion bill passed for Katrina victims, now a $52 billion appropriation for diaster relief. BTW, this money is all going to FEMA....but that's another post.

This has occurred in the midst of estimates by some members of Congress that the total cost to the federal government could exceed $200 billion. But what about the repeal of the estate tax, which is on the Senate agenda? Shhhhhh....don't tell anyone that New Orleans, not to mention Iraq, is going to continue to cost billions.

Tom made a final point that I think bears repeating. He said that the upward estimates of the costs to rebuild New Orleans do not include the costs of restoring the wetlands, which were a key cause of so much destruction to the city. Sheesh, my adding machine is smoking (yes, I'm that old)!

But then again, the powers that be didn't do the environmental thing right initially, so they're likely not to do it right in the future. By developing the buffer zones of wetlands, they've stripped New Orleans of the natural barrier to storms, and storm surge. And unfortunately, this is where the locals do bear some responsibility.


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