Letters for Saturday — September 17, 2005

  • They are all at fault

They are all at fault

While the Katrina rescue is still ongoing, the politicians are quick to blame each other. The Democrats blame the Republicans, while the State and Local governments blame the Federal government. The truth is that they are all to blame — and all blameless at the same time. Partisanship doesn’t enter into the fact that government bureaucracies, steeped in red tape, fiefdoms, and inefficiency are hardly the ideal responders in an emergency. No doubt many bureaucrats mean well but don’t really understand the real world.

A little arithmetic might point out what is going on. The government is allocating billions of dollars to the relief effort. A billion dollars is beyond the imagination of most of us. Assuming that there are 500,000 evacuees, if one billion dollars were split up among them, each man, woman, child, and parakeet would get $2,000. Congress has already authorized over 60 billion dollars ($120,000 per individual) and is talking about raising the stakes to 100 billion ($200,000 each).

And this money from Congress (we taxpayers really) does not include the 25 to 30 billion dollars anticipated to be paid by insurance companies to those homeowners who were foolish enough to spend their hard earned money on insurance when they could have just waited for FEMA to bail them out. Nor does it include all of the voluntarily contributed millions (billions?) given through the Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches, synagogues etc. etc.

Does anyone really believe that all of those families housed in the Astrodome and other centers across the country will ever see a significant portion of that $120,000 per head? It will just get all swallowed up in the bureaucracy. But at the same time, even though our efforts have often been bumbling and inefficient, our government and private individuals did indeed rise to the occasion the best way they could. Our country and freedoms are stable. The evacuees will be cared for and will recover eventually. The United States is still the best place in the world to live. Let us just ignore that vocal minority who take every excuse to spout their partisan rancor. In times of crisis, we are not Democrats or Republicans, kama’ainas or malihinis, we are all Americans.

On this thirteenth anniversary of Iniki, we here on Kauai can now look back and realize that it could have been a lot worse.. The ongoing coverage of Katrina has jarred partially forgotten memories — and given that old adage ‘Lucky You Live Kauai’ a whole new meaning.

  • Stan Godes

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