09/19/2005: Couldn't have said it...
'Whatever It Costs' by Sebastian Mallaby (WaPo):
“It's hard to say what's worse: The incompetence of the administration's initial hurricane response or the cowardice of its follow-up. Faced with a small hit to his ratings, the president who once boasted of ignoring polls is rushing to spend billions of other people's dollars on saving his political skin. His philosophy is, "It's going to cost whatever it costs." That phrase should be the title of some future history of the Bush era.
The worst part is, President Bush doesn't even think his splurge will be effective. If he really believed that government could overcome racial inequality by targeting subsidies at minority businesses, he should have rolled out a national program long ago. But he doesn't believe anything of the kind. His promises of racial healing are entirely cynical.
What Bush really believes is that government is ineffective. Or at least that's what he says he believes…
Katrina also exposed the corruption in the way government dispenses money. The levees around New Orleans were inadequate not because the nation spends too little on water infrastructure; far from it. They were inadequate because water funds are allocated by cronyism rather than by cost-benefit analysis. On any honest crunching of the numbers, fortifying New Orleans looked like an excellent investment. But undeserving projects hogged all the money because they had more powerful sponsors in Congress. Bush hasn't breathed a word about this scandal.
Or take the perverse state of federal flood insurance. Because the program is subsidized, the feds are effectively paying people to build vulnerable houses on the beach; then they bail out flood victims whether or not they've actually signed up and paid their premiums. You might think that Katrina has driven home this lesson once and for all. Bush shows no sign of having grasped it.
Most seriously of all, Katrina exposed the government's incapacity to prepare for emergencies. The failure of response to a predicted flood in New Orleans is only the tip of the iceberg. Name just about any potential disaster, from a bioterrorism attack to avian flu, from an interruption in the flow of Saudi oil to a crash in the dollar. Are the feds prepared? Of course not. They are not even preparing for problems that are 100 percent assured, such as the coming baby bust.
After the terrorist attacks of 2001, Bush rose to the challenge -- perhaps rather too vigorously. After Katrina, he's lost his political nerve and all sense of the big picture. The hurricane has exposed our government as complacent, corrupt and unprepared; it has also created a brief and fleeting chance to launch bold reforms. Yet Bush seems content to accept business as usual. He will sit back and wait for disasters, then write large checks. Hey, it's going to cost whatever it costs. Is this supposed to be leadership?”
and Following the remarks on Sunday's Face the Nation by Senator Obama [from here in IL :-) ]:
Obama: This I think is where the problem comes in. You can't fight a war in Iraq that's costing upwards of 200 billion dollars and rebuild Katrina-rebuild N.O. and respond to the aftermath of Katrina-and try to deal with all the other domestic needs that we have, and- then cut taxes for the wealthiest 1% of Americana. I mean there was talk right-immediately after the hurricane that the republicans in the senate were still going to push forward with the repeal the estate tax which is mind boggling I think. We need some adult supervision of the budget process..
[Hat tip and video available on Crooks and Liars.]
What we Need is Adult Supervision of this Child-in-Chief we have as President!!!
Karen on 09.19.05 @ 06:48 AM CST