Moral Contradictions

Friday, September 16, 2005

All the pain and none of the sacrifice

...is a bit of a stretch, but follow me here.

First I heard earlier in the week Tom DeLay, in yet another example that he does not hail from Planet Earth, pronounce the government's budget free from fat. That's crazy in and of itself. The last few major bill, mainly the energy and transportation, are full of pork and completely wasteful. Our budget deficit is, well, how do you say... quite large and any fiscal conservative who believes this Administration has adhered to this policy lives with Tom DeLay.

Then I saw a headline that said President Bush is unwilling to raise taxes to help with Katrina relief.

I'm tired of this "we're in a rough situation, but we'll pull through" followed by fiscally irresponsible decisions and no calls for sacrifice. How are we going to pay for this? I know we should, but are we looking for short-term satisfaction in exchange for long-term gain?

Folks... we have a government that is unprepared, unconscious, and overwhelmed by a major disaster, yet it's willing to drive that same government into the ground. Not to mention all this talk of repealing the estate tax and some calls for even more tax cuts.

It's like we, the American people, own a nice car... a very nice and precious car. The only one we'll ever have. Every four years we entrust a driver with whom we share a vision and dream to guide our car where we want to go. Sure we're divided as to the direction, but this is a democracy, and the leader has agreed to take us where he believes the majority of people want to go... a nice stroll in the mountains. Sure the inclines will be tough, but at the end of the journey we'll enjoy nice vistas and we will enjoy the fruit of the car's hard work and the driver's direction.

We gave President Bush and his team the keys and now he's joyriding our country rougher than Farmer Joe trying to get home before the cows. Potholes and guardrails don't matter - we hit them. Food wrappers are all over the seat. The transmission is shot... and, it seems the car's been in some shady places and carried people who don't respect the car like the rest of America.

When President Bush hands us the government back January 20, 2009 for us to give to someone else, we'll be worse off then than we were January 20, 2001. We'll have to deal with the consequences of his Administration's actions for years, all while we thought he was cleaning up the consequences of Clinton's administration.

All that to say - sure, we want to help Katrina victims, but are we going to pay for it later?

I'm not an economist - but something doesn't seem right at all.

8 Comments:

  • EEEGAADS Nathan! 2009? Did you have to remind me? I'll be 60 years old in 2009. Did you have to remind me of that too?

    By Blogger Marty, at Saturday, September 17, 2005 11:54:00 AM  

  • ok, I think I need to say something here. Not all of the Katrina cleanup chaos lands in President Bush's lap. Where were the governors of Louisanna, Mississippi, and Alabama? Where were the state legislatures? Where were the senators and congressman? Yes Bush is president and in charge, but a lot lands on state and local government. Not that Bush handled everything right, but its not entirely his fault. At least in my opinion.

    By Blogger Jillian, at Tuesday, September 20, 2005 11:59:00 AM  

  • Nathan, the car analogy is EXCELLENT. And you are exactly right.

    Plus, don't belittle your economics skills. Your comments here are more true and insightful than anything's we've seen come out of Alan Greenspan in 5 years.

    Jillian--please don't be fooled by the outright lies pronounced by Republicans, repeated by the media--and later recanted on page 26:
    Bush cut funding to the Army Engineers Corps so that, despite repeated requests, they could not maintain and repair the levees.
    Bush stacked FEMA with political hacks and cronies with no qualifications for their jobs.
    Bush and his people were briefed in advance of Katrina's landfall and chose to do nothing.
    The Louisiana gov requested federal aid immediately, but nothing was delivered.
    Bush rejected or stalled international aid offers.
    Bush's appointees at FEMA delayed for days--while people drowned and starved and fell sick and died.

    If Bush wants to play at "commander-in-chief," he need to shoulder the duties that go with it: namely, responsiblity goes all the way to the top.

    The failures of Katrina are first and foremost George Bush's.

    By Blogger Shaula Evans, at Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:52:00 PM  

  • I still can't believe that Bush is the fault of everything. Yes he is commander in chief and better act like it. Yes FEMA was stacked, and federal government stalled in their actions. But look at what happened at the Superdome: They didn't give people other options, and more harm was done than good. Was this Bush's fault? Not entirely. Yes supplies were slow in coming but consider this: the leadership for FEMA was stacked by Bush, but how many hurricanes have we had in the last few years? Quite a few. People in Florida are still rebuilding from last year. The fact that Bush didn't take Hurricane Katrina seriously isn't surprising. We were working on Hurricane number eight or something in the season, not to mention the damage done last season. FEMA hasn't exactly been sitting on its butt, it's been pretty busy, no matter what you think of the leadership. Katrina tested FEMA's strength like no other disaster could have, and yes they failed. However, all the multiple hurricanes caused everyone to brush them off and not take them seriously.

    International Aid offers: There are reasons why he refused international aid for the time being. Do we really want water from Mexico? Do we want the political implications of being dependent on a country like Saudi Arabia? The political answer is no, the practical answer is yes. These aren't easy issues.

    And here's the most obvious thing on my mind: When have we ever had a natural disaster this sudden and devasting? Yes 9/11 was tragic, but we didn't lose an entire city. A city that engineers have claimed that years before would never survive the right hit and the right storm. Sorry, but those levees aren't completely hurricane proof, no matter if they had been repaired or not. That's a fact, not politics.

    I just don't want these things to be overlooked and all the liberals jump at the chance to claim that Bush is the anti Christ. Yes he made mistakes, yes FEMA failed, but there are other facts to consider.

    By Blogger Jillian, at Wednesday, September 21, 2005 9:20:00 AM  

  • Jillian, I think you make a couple good points, only it seems to come straight from Karl Rove's campaign to deflect criticism from Bush (see the New York Times article). And if you can't break into the site, it basically eschews Rove's plan to save Bush by blaming state and local officials, which Fox News ate up.

    If the only defense of someone is to point fingers at someone else - that's a problem. The whole point is that Bush is the President. The President. Man in charge.

    If FEMA was so great at answering the calls to other hurricanes, why were they slow on this one? The one where forecasters said "watch out", the one where which the Scientific American and National Geographic wrote about - and then have President Bush say "we didn't see this one coming?". We all knew at some point that it was only a matter of time before N.O. got hit.

    And screw political implications... this is not a time for politics, which I don't think the President has learned. Just as after 9/11, there were no Republicans or Democrats, just Americans. And because of politics, because of political hackery, and because Homeland Security, Bush, and others have been focused on Iraq more than border security or domestic terrorism/disasters - Americans died. On live TV. Politics and bureaucracy killed. The Russians learned the hard way that those trapped on the submarine Kursk really didn’t care who saved them – by the time they accepted the West’s help, they were dead.

    I don't know if you read the timeline post (a couple posts down), but you really need to. We can go back and forth about the state and local officials all day, but President Bush and his team certainly don't win any prizes. The fact that his aides had to bring him to the reality we already knew by showing him a DVD of how bad it was shows that he's in a completely different world.

    Bush couldn’t control the levees – but he and Congressional leaders controlled it’s funding, which went towards the war. Bush couldn’t control the levees, but he controlled the federal response.

    If we take your argument that the state and local officials are at fault, then lets assume that whatever they didn’t do contributed to the levees breaking. We assume that people would still be at the superdome because only a federal effort could bring enough buses for everyone. At the end of the day, the levees broke and the city is gone w/ the state in ruins. What’s left to help pick up the pieces? Federal. Where is it? On vacation in Texas, Wyoming, San Diego, and New York.

    Yes, this wasn't like 9/11. There was no city left. Which makes it even harder for local officials to do anything to help, and is why the Federal response was needed so bad. You're right, all the preparation in the world can't stop a hurricane... but it's not like FEMA was sitting outside the city gates waiting for local officials to give permission to come in. Unlike 9/11, when there was a city and state left, President Bush didn't step up and inspire us. At first, he gave a petty, callous, and underwhelming speech, did a flyover, and didn't call his subordinates back from vacation.

    He is our leader. He should have taken responsibility. He only did when he was forced. When a great city was destroyed, when a parish president cried on national tv, when dozens, hundreds died because of lack of a $.90 bottle of water - this will be a huge smear on Bush's record in the history books because he was asleep while everyone else in the country watched N.O. drown.

    Again I ask – what’s worse? Impeaching a president because he lied about his sexual activity, or having to be convinced to stop ignoring Americans dying on America’s soil?

    As so many people said on the ground: “I can’t believe this is happening in America”. Those who don’t accept responsibility and make excuses are living in a dream world. In the real world, people died.

    By Blogger Nathan, at Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:15:00 AM  

  • Nathan,

    There are a lot of people I know living in a dream world with their heads in the sand who simply refuse to see the truth. This administration can absolutely do no wrong according to them. That is a very dangerous attitude. There is a lot of blame to go around, but I totally agree with you on this. As I have said before, you are wise beyond your years. Pray for us. Rita is headed our way, we're boarding up the windows as I write this. We are leaving for Dallas either tonight or tommorrow morning to stay with family. I'm a cat person and I've got a bunch that I'm leaving behind. I hope they survive. Will check in when I can and let you know what's up. We evacuated the Katrina victims from the church last night and they will be sent on planes to Arkansas.

    By Blogger Marty, at Wednesday, September 21, 2005 1:37:00 PM  

  • Geez Marty... you all can't catch a break. I will definitely pray for you all; your fellow workers and those victims you are serving. And your cats. :)

    I can thank my college roommate for opening my eyes to those who either choose or ignorantly have their eyes closed to the world. I don't count you, Jillian, as one of them, I just wanted to make sure you knew you were writing verbatim what President Bush and Karl Rove want you to think. We can argue all day over who's at fault for the preparation - we're angry at the response (or lack thereof).

    By Blogger Nathan, at Wednesday, September 21, 2005 2:17:00 PM  

  • Ok this is my last post, I promise. I will say that I did not watch fox news and post my opinions based on them. I did not read Rove's article. This all came out of me and what I've come to realize. I'm not a usually a staunch Conservative, and I guess I'm trying to bring up arguments that Liberals refuse to address. Take it or leave it.

    I think its really funny how we point to one single person for the fault of all of this. Everyone failed. That is my point. The president, the governors, the state legislatures, FEMA, the senators everyone. If you wanna point a finger, point it at everyone.

    Ok, I'm done. I promise.

    By Blogger Jillian, at Wednesday, September 21, 2005 4:36:00 PM  

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