Show Me (How You Spent) The Money

By: Patti Bankson

If you don’t mind, I’d like to join the continuing questions about Hurricane Katrina and ensuing events. Why were so many caught unawares? Who’s to blame for the failures? The federal government? City and state leaders? Maybe. But…

When the next hurricane comes our way, go to Home Depot and count the people standing in line to buy plywood at the last minute. Obviously, no one believes they‘ll be on the receiving end of a disaster. Bad things don’t happen to us, only to others. Consequently, we wait for someone else to come up with a plan, then, we wait for someone else to put that plan into operation. Hmmm… maybe the poor and needy aren’t the only ones who depend on a “nanny-state” type of government.

I’d love to live beachside. But while making that decision, I’d have to consider the possibility of a hurricane wiping out my home, and what it might cost me. For that reason, I might decide against it. But, I could also look at it this way: why worry about whether a hurricane destroys my house? “Big-Daddy-Government” will step in and help clean up my mess… save my bacon. Maybe that’s why some who live in hurricane and flood prone areas don’t worry about living there in the first place; then choose to stay and rebuild.

Surprising? Not really. But, imagine my surprise when I heard 20/20’s (Give Me A Break) John Stossel say that in an interview on a Fox News program. The man who wanted us to “give him a break” when exposing the government’s stupidity, is obviously quite happy to use that same government if it benefits him. When he planned to build an oceanfront home, his father asked, “Are you nuts? You’re going to build on the edge of an ocean?” His answer? “I can’t lose; the government rewards me for taking that kind of risk.” He admitted that his thinking was, “if my house gets washed away, FEMA will give me $250,000. And if I re-build it, and it gets washed away again, I’m going to get another quarter-million.”

Who’s to blame for that kind of government stupidity? Let’s start with the people who created FEMA, and decide how it should operate – the people who immediately say we should pour money into just about anything, disaster or not – they’re the people we’ve put into the Senate and House of Representatives. (Ooops! Once again, we’re part of the responsibility picture!!) Make no mistake, I believe the poor and needy should be helped in times of emergency, but I’d like ALL our leaders to get a few things straight: the millions and billions of dollars they’re playing with, and handing out so freely, isn’t Monopoly money, and it isn’t theirs, either… it’s OURS. That’s why I want them to see to it that the money goes where it’s meant to go, that it’s not wasted or used fraudulently. I want them to be held responsible and accountable for every last dime!

Your comments are welcome at
Patti Bankson 2005

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