Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ray Nagin and Foreign Aid

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is entertaining foreign dignitaries and asking for relief money because he says the Federal government has come up short on bringing in relief money. Nagin has been talking to the French and to Jordanian King Abdullah II about help rebuilding certain parts of New Orleans. Nagin has put the blame on Bush(who else?) for not focusing on rebuilding New Orleans. He has asked Bush to give his "undivided attention over the next six months"

Now I have really had enough of Nagin. Let us consider a few things:

1. According to The Washington Post, a new relief package of $18 billion is forthcoming and it would bring the total of federal relief money for hurricanes Katrina and Rita to over $100 billion. According to Wikipedia, the federal government had previously offered two relief packages: $10 billion and $51 billion all within 10 days of the storm. New Orleans was obviously devasted, but so were other regions of the Gulf, including Mississippi. It also should be noted that while blaming the President is fashionable, Congress actually handles appropriations of money so why not call on Senators Mary Landrieu or David Vitter to get off the dime and push for some more money.

2. While I do not have the numbers, there has been a massive private relief effort in full force since the disaster. President Bush tapped his father, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead a private campaign to raise money for relief. There have also been countless churches and other charities on the ground helping people rebuild. The point is that is should not all come from the Federal coffers.

3. Nagin needs to go ask his governor Kathleen Blanco why she spent over half a million dollars on remodeling the executive offices. Nagin is quick to call Bush on the carpet but offers no criticism of his own governor who thought her office remodel was a higher priority than rebuilding her state.

4. If Nagin wants to ask for foreign aid, that's fine considering the countless billions of dollars we have spent bailing other countries. In the case of France, how many American soldiers are buried in Normady in our effort to save them from a facist regime? It would seem that every time there is an earthquake or tsunami countries come to the U.S. with one hand out for money and another hand to slap us with after they get it. It would be nice if they would return the favor.

5. As for asking for Bush's undivided attention, Nagin needs to realize that Bush is busy running the entire country so it may be a little difficult to offer his undivided attention. As I mentioned above, a new $18 billion package is coming soon. That same article from The Washington Post also points out no new relief for Katrina in the new federal budget but then again that budget does not kick in until October so it would not be of much value anyway at this point. I also happen to think that the previous $61 billion that has been authorized probably has not been fully expended yet.

6. Nagin, being a good Democrat, thinks government money is the solution to everything. He probably thinks the more money they throw at New Orleans the better things will be. Of course I have a problem with Federal money being used to build a "Chocolate City" that seems a little discriminatory but "the dessert cart must roll on"

Finally, if the French are so interested in helping New Orleans, is there any chance they could take Ray Nagin back to France with them?

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