Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina Thoughts--10 Days Later

Well, it's been over a week since I posted. I've taken a little vacation time...and been very busy...but it's time to get back to it.

A week ago I paid $3.19 a gallon. Most places are at just under $3 right now. I guess not filling up last week turned out to be a good idea. Even though I had to fill up a couple of times since. I'm guessing the gas will come down another quarter or so as the summer travel season is over. But, we won't be seeing anything under $2.50 any more...just my prediction. Once they break a certain "psychological barrier" with the consumer, you rarely see them retreat very far. Competition doesn't seem to be much of a factor at this point.

Here I go again being unsympathetic. My wife asked me some good questions yesterday..."If our house were flooded out, or burned up, or blown away by a tornado, would the government feed us, clothe us, and give us a place to live until we were able to make it on our own again? Is the government responsible for everyone affected by some kind of natural disaster?" Interesting queries aren't they?

Got me to thinking...What is the difference between me and a tornado...and the Gulf Coast people and their hurricane? Where do you draw the line? Do we, as taxpayers, take responsibility for them and not for someone else equally devastated? Is the government acting as a big insurance company in this case? Is it just the amount of devastation that separates this natural disaster from others? This storm is costing taxpayers many billions of dollars...and it doesn't matter where the taxpayer lives. A smaller storm here in the midwest could devastate a smaller area...but not receive anywhere near the attention or response from any level of government. Maybe someone can explain to me how this works?

Other questions...If some of the Katrina survivors had their homes blown away and then they go back and rebuild on the same spot, should they feel bad about being turned down for insurance in the future? Will they have to sign something that says the government is not responsible for what happens to them financially if they do rebuild? Looks like they will have some serious economic issues to ponder before they can reclaim anything that resembles their old life.

Regarding New Orleans...My suggestion would be to salvage the French Quarter as an entertainment district...and try to rebuild and reopen whatever historic and cultural aspects of New Orleans you reasonably can. For instance, you could reasonably open a college campus like Tulane...most of the kids aren't permanent residents anyway. But, I would not rebuild most of the business and residential areas in the low-lying areas destined to have the same thing happen all over again. It might be 10 years, it might be 100 years, it might be 500 years before another storm like Katrina comes along. But, I believe it's irresponsible to put that many people and buildings right back in harm's way, unless your damn sure the area is safe from a repeat performance. Make a giant park or wildlife area out of it...someplace where thousands of humans won't have to, or be able to hide from another giant hurricane.

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