Friday, September 16, 2005

Should US taxpayers pay to rebuild New Orleans?

Last night, President Bush promised that US taxpayers would shoulder "the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone." What's wrong with this picture? Where is the responsibility?

Dubya promised that US taxpayer funds would go toward rebuilding roads (a small minority of which are federal highways), bridges (a small part of which are on federal roads), schools (which are a state issue) and water systems (which are state and local issues).

If an interstate highway, a US highway or a bridge on one of those highways was damaged, then it is only right and proper that the US government should shoulder the expense of repairing it. But in Louisiana, the way governors build their legacy, is to build bridges. The more bridges you have named after you, the more important a governor you were, seems to be the belief. Of course, if you want to build a bridge, you have to build a road to get to it. Somehow, I just don't see how rebuilding STATE highways and bridges in Louisiana, should be shouldered by US taxpayers.

Now, if Louisiana wants to BORROW the money to repair or rebuild STATE highways and bridges, then it would only be proper for US taxpayers to step up to the plate to provide low-interest LOANS to the state for that purpose, expecting a reasonable payback. The same applies to schools and water systems.

LOAN the state and the city the money to repair or rebuild those state and/or city owned properties and require payback. DON'T GIVE it to them. It is not the responsibility of the US taxpayer to pay for Louisiana's and New Orleans' mistakes. It was more important for them to have a giant domed stadium and more social programs than any other city besides New York City, than it was to build proper levees. That was their CHOICE, not ours. They CHOSE to live below sea level, with a levee system that they knew was not sufficient to withstand any more than a category 3 storm. In fact, the Times Picayune newspaper ran a five part article a few years ago, that predicted almost exactly what has now happened. They KNEW that this would eventually happen and the socialists in New Orleans and Louisiana just let it happen, fully expecting the US taxpayers to come in and bail them out, when it did.

Dubya is just going along with this and once again, showing that he is NOT A CONSERVATIVE, by any stretch of the imagination. That's probably why the Democrats hate him so much. He's stealing all of their issues.

Under the Constitution, the federal government is only supposed to provide an environment that will allow the states to deal with THEIR OWN PROBLEMS, not to solve those problems FOR the states. All that Dubya and the Congress are doing, is using this state disaster, as an excuse to, yet again, expand the federal government far beyond constitutional limits.


JoeSixPack said...

Loaning money is a much better approach than providing grants for rebuilding, but where are the LOANS truly going to come from? Normally, loans come from those that save. This nation and its people are in debt up to their eyeballs. If it wasn't for Japan and China buying up our treasuries, the American people wouldn't have two nickels to rub together. If we take look at all the money, in the form of taxes, that has been confiscated and misallocated in the previous 12 months leading up to the Katrina disaster the negative economic impact would add up to to a couple dozen or so Katrinas. I personally don't think we can afford to loan what we haven't saved nor do I think it wise to encourage someone to rebuild in a bad location by loaning them the money to do so. Part of the decision making process in loaning someone money is to determine their ability to pay it back and I don't think we can separate the folly of rebuilding in this area from the risk assessment that needs to be undertaken to determine the creditworthiness of the recipient. I would question the intelligence of anyone wanting to rebuild in this area and wouldn't be inclined to share the risk (via loans) in helping them rebuild there.

ActionAmerica said...

I agree with Joe, in that I have always screamed "Foul!" when the government sells National Flood Insurance to people who live in an area that is prone to flooding, such as most of Liberty County or is already below sea level, such as most of New Orleans. It gets even worse, when they sell insurance to those people at essentially the same price that I pay, living over 100 miles from the coast and in an area that has not flooded in recorded history.

The effect is that responsible people end up subsidizing idiots.

My thought is that if the federal government feels the need to get involved with helping the victims of Katrina, they should do so with loans, based upon ability to repay and then REQUIRE, under penalty of jail time, that the loans be paid back. If they want to make the loans very low interest, that would be OK. But, the key is that the borrower would know that he would have to pay it back or go to jail.

The effect of this would be that many of the people who borrowed that money would likely learn, for the first time in their lives, the first steps of how to be responsible. And since it's a loan, rather than a grant, they might just decide to build outside of any flood prone area, to protect what they have invested. Wow! Imagine that! Some of those people might actually learn the meaning of the word, "investment". I know that's asking a lot. But, it could happen.