A month ago, during the debt-ceiling crisis, poor, elderly or disabled citizens of the United States worried. Would they receive their government cheque? Some miscreants among Republicans would not raise the debt ceiling and the problem was, in their mind, that President Obama was finding it extremely difficult to achieve a balanced budget. I then spoke of hypocrisy and amnesia.
And now, it’s Irene, a combination of powerful winds and unforgiving floods.
In a not-so-distant past, no one could predict at what time a hurricane would hit its various targets, nor could anyone determine the velocity of the storm. As a result, hurricanes and tornadoes functioned as social equalizers. They did not spare anyone.
In this regard, times have changed. It is now possible to predict the course and speed of such natural disasters, which makes it possible for those who have the financial means to do so to get out of the danger zone. Moreover, the well-to-do can have safer homes built. Windows can be shielded at the push of a button, even from afar, which does not require the owner to cover the windows of a house manually.
I am not saying that hurricanes discriminate. Irene will harm everyone. However, the affluent had the option of getting out of harm’s way and they can now stay in a comfortable hotel while their homes are being repaired. They have been inconvenienced, so I feel sympathy for them, but…
Hospitals have been evacuated and many poor individuals have been told to get out of their ground-floor or first-floor apartments, as these will be flooded, but where will these less fortunate individuals go if their home requires extensive and lengthy repairs.
Given that New Orleans has yet to rise again, we can probably expect the worst. Thanks to former Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), members of the middle-class living on the east coast may be helped in that they may be able to get a 3rdmortgage—they are already paying a 2nd mortgage—and repair their homes. If they succeed in obtaining a 3rd mortgage, they will be in debt for a very long time, which is extremely sad, but what about the very poor? They will not be able to rebuild. Some already sleep under bridges. They will be like the citizens of New Orleans: homeless in the most powerful nation on earth. It doesn’t seem acceptable.
There will be a bill to pay, and this bill will be humongous. One can only imagine the cost of putting ships and planes out of harm’s way, and the cost of evacuations, where evacuation was an option. The bill will be extremely high and it will likely be sent to Washington. Private insurance companies have clauses that limit liability in the case of floods, but Americans have the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, and under FEMA’s umbrella, they have the Federal Flood Damage Program. But that is Washington, and Washinton is big government. Recent rhetoric from Republicans leads me to think that all God-fearing Americans hate big government.
So, am I about to hear, once again, that the current administration is financially inept: a “Hang Obama!” Will President Obama and his administration once again be the scapegoats? They are paying the debts incurred by a former administration and they must now rebuild what fickle nature has destroyed, at a staggering price.
I realize that President Obama is a powerful man, but no President can prevent natural disasters. That is the human condition, stated in the simplest manner. His title does not bestow divinity upon president Obama. And presidents cannot revive the dead.
However, an innovative and comforting thought has just surfaced. If Michele Bachmann can provide gasoline at $2.00 a gallon, it would appear the United States has a magic wand. So I fully expect Republicans finally to rally behind their fairy-godmother ably assisted by Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Arianna Huffington, etc. Not only will Mrs Bachmann repair, at no cost, the devastated east coast, but, at long last, New Orleans will be rebuilt.
How is it that those in need go to big Government asking for financial assistance, only to blame same big government when it helps the otherwise helpless and an unexpected debt has to be paid.
E Pluribus Unum
P.S. I congratulate those journalists, particularly CNN’s fearless and truly humane team, for putting themselves at risk to make sure people could follow Irene’s cruel path. Moreover, let me express my most sincere sympathy to all who have been the victims of Irene and to those Irene has inconvenienced.