The New Democrat Online

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Long Island Prepares for Hurricane Irene: What the Federal Government should do



Seems to me every time that America has to deal with big storms which is every year, we are a huge country between two large oceans with 310M people. We have to deal with big Winter Storms in the Winter, which goes without saying 2011 being no exception. We have to deal with flooding in the Spring and Summer with all of the rain, hurricanes and earthquakes in the Summer and even Fall. If you live in the Mid Atlantic as I do, Heat Waves in the Fall as well. America is capable of getting just about any Natural Disaster possible as well as Man Made Disasters. And almost every time we get these storms, we deal with them generally after they occur rather then before they occur. And I'm talking about mainly how we pay for them. Hurricane katreena of 2005 is an excellent example of this, where the Federal Government apparently wasn't even aware that it was happening as it was happening. At least not the White House and the Director of FEMA Federal Emergency Management Service Mike Brown lost his job as a result. And was fired by Mike Chertoff the then Secretary of Homeland Security which from some reason oversees FEMA. Even though DHS is mainly a Law Enforcement Organization and not a Disaster Relief Agency. I'm a big fan of reforming the Federal Government because it needs a lot of reform, its too bloated, too big, too wasteful, has too much responsibility. The things that it does well, it does real well and Emergency Management has historically been one of those areas. But the things it doesn't do well, its awful and wasteful at. Like managing a budget, where it wastes hundreds of billions of dollars a year alone in some agency's, Medicare and Defense being perfect examples of this. And this post will be about Federal Government Reform but I'll focus on Disaster Relief because of Hurricane Irene and how we can do a better job in this area.

Hurricane Katreena of 2005 is an example of where the Federal Government wastes a lot of money, six years later New Orleans and the Greater Gulf Coast is still trying to recover from that disaster. Where we borrowed in the neighborhood of 100B$ or more to deal with that storm. Because the Federal Government wasn't prepared to deal with it, didn't budget the money to deal with a storm like that. And the people didn't budget the money on their own to deal with that storm as well. Things like Property Insurance and lost their homes and ended up homeless and living in Trailer Homes set up by FEMA. Where of course FEMA borrowed the money to set up these projects and people ended up living in rotten conditions. And some of them having to move to Houston because their weren't enough adequate homes for them in the Gulf Coast. These issues that are preventable that are problems that don't have to happen, if we just better prepare ourselves up front from that start. So we don't wait for the problems to occur before we deal with them but we prepare for them before they happen.

What the Federal Government should be doing instead is stetting up a Federal System of Disaster Relief and Insurance that any Property Owner or Renter would have to pay into. That the Federal Government wouldn't run but somewhat oversee and they would regulate it. That would have its own Revenue Source to pay for their operations. That both the relief and insurance would be Semi Private, Non Profit . Where each State would have its own Disaster Relief and Insurance System, that would be funded through like a Payroll Tax. That the Federal Government would just regulate, so when there's a Natural Disaster, this system would already have the funds to provide the cleanup. As well as Disaster Insurance that people who paid into could collect when their property is damaged as the result of a Natural Disaster.

We deal with Natural Disasters every year as a country but never seem to be able to deal with the aftermath of them very well as far as paying for them. And with this bad economy where money is already very tight and with a National Debt and Deficit of 14T$ and 1.8T$. We need to as a country and the Federal Government needs to be smarter with our money.