KPRC-TV (2) is now reporting that evacuees are using their FREE debit cards to buy expensive items, like a $250 bracelet, at the Galleria. One of the Dallas TV stations aired a similar story a few days ago, where they cited an evacuee using her FREE debit card to buy an $800 designer purse. I would be very surprised if more than half of the people getting those debit cards have ever had $2000 at one time, in their entire life. Give people more money than they have ever seen and they will almost always waste it. On the other hand, they may just be taking those expensive items to a pawn shop to exchange them for money for drugs.
On a related vein, it's interesting to note that responsible victims of Katrina, who left New Orleans before the storm and who are staying in hotels and were expecting insurance to pay the bill, cannot get help from either FEMA or the Red Cross, since they are insured. Yet, at the same time, the insurance companies are telling the responsible victims that they are unable to pay any claims until they can see the house, but they are not allowed into New Orleans to see the damage. Actually, that's a perfectly reasonable attitude for insurance companies to take, since many homes in New Orleans were not damaged and they don't know which were damaged and which were not. There is also the question of whether or not the homeowners policy covers the cost of housing as a result of government ordered evacuations, when the home is not damaged.
Instead of FEMA and the Red Cross passing out FREE debit cards to the irresponsible victims, who were either too poor or too dumb to evacuate before the storm arrived, they should be checking to see who was on the dole before the storm and getting them only their welfare checks, so money can be allocated to those responsible people, who got out early and were insured, since those are the producers, who we need to get back into the system fast.
What FEMA and the Red Cross are doing is effectively punishing responsibility and rewarding irresponsibility. What's wrong with this picture?