Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?

I was put on to this story by a friend. Here are some pertinent quotes:
.....When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."
(emphasis added)
So, in addition to having their National Guard depleted, the poor people of Louisiana got gyped on the flood control with disastrous results.

The really bad stuff hasn't even begun. Imagine living in the Super Dome for three days with overflowing sewage. Then being moved to the Astro Dome. It is almost beyond comprehension. It is hot down there and pretty soon people are going to snap. Then there is the crappy water and the diseases that brings.

Give to the American Red Cross. It is worth every penny.

If Congress approves W.'s estate tax bill, giving $1.5 Billion a week to the 20,000 wealthiest families in America, you might see some of the rest of us snap too.

Billions for the rich but not one penny for the poor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Doc:

Regarding the $70 billion a year estate tax cut:

Before Congress and Bush raised the limits in the move toward repeal, HALF of estate tax revenue comes from the richest 1 out of every 1000 estates. The other half came from the next richest 17 out of a thousand.

WHat the hell were the other 982 out of a 1000 of us thinking?

It is an incredible sleight of hand. A huge tax cut for the rich to drive up an enormous deficit. And you know what a deficit is? It is a future tax increase (we have to pay that deficit back, right?). And who do you think will be making those payment. NOt the ultra-rich.

By the way, check out this diary on MyDD about our President's choices while the bayou is drowning: Sorry--I've already forgotten how to do hypetext codes!

Steve Hill