Now, Did Anyone See This Storm Coming?

Now, Did Anyone See This Storm Coming?


Is anyone surprised?

Amid cries that boiled down to “throw aid ($$) at it,” Congress did what the media and public response demanded and the result is catastrophic waste

Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one: it produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion.

Gregory D. Kutz, a G.A.O. official, testified before a House panel about fraud and held up one of the $2,000 debit cards given out by FEMA.
A hotel owner in Sugar Land, Tex., has been charged with submitting $232,000 in bills for phantom victims. And roughly 1,100 prison inmates across the Gulf Coast apparently collected more than $10 million in rental and disaster-relief assistance.

There are the bureaucrats who ordered nearly half a billion dollars worth of mobile homes that are still empty, and renovations for a shelter at a former Alabama Army base that cost about $416,000 per evacuee.

And there is the Illinois woman who tried to collect federal benefits by claiming she watched her two daughters drown in the rising New Orleans waters. In fact, prosecutors say, the children did not exist.

Watch out for the next storm looming … “Hurricane Taxpayer! “

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  • ford4x4

    Can someone tell when it became the responsibility of the federal government to bail out people after disaster?

    They set a bad precedent with Katrina…
    We recently had some flooding in my area, and the TV is full of people wondering when the feds will show up and hand them money.

  • Denise Best

    Can someone tell when it became the responsibility of the federal government to bail out people after disaster?

    It sure is an entitlement mentality anymore. Not sure when the tide turned on with responsibility of the government to bail people out after disasters, but that has become the expectation.

    What’s even worse is when building occurs in areas that are geographically prone to the effects of hurricanes and when damage occurs there’s no responsibility for someone recklessly building just because “the view was great.”

  • Meredith

    I know this won’t be a popular statement, but . . .

    Let’s not confuse the issues here. Whether one believes that the feds should have been responsible for providing for the victims of Katrina is separate from the fact that people committed fraud during that process. I know there was a lot of fraud committed after 9/11 (although I’m not sure if there was more, less or the same), but people weren’t really making THAT big of a deal about it, and I don’t remember anyone complaining about the federal government getting involved in helping the victims and their families.

    Please don’t point out the obvious differences between the 2 events, but do explain to me why we were so down on the Katrina situation. Or, explain to me the difference between the government helping with Katrina and the government helping with Andrew. Or, explain to me the difference between the government bailing out hurricane/flood victims as opposed to them helping out earthquake victims.

    Listen, if the feds don’t want to get involved, that’s fine. We just need to sit down and figure out what the procedure should be in the event of these kinds of things happening. The feds need to tell the governors of each state explicitly what they will and will not do, and then the state, in conjunction with each local government, needs to devise plans for various disasters – knowing what they can and cannot count on from the federal government

  • reader_iam

    Listen, if the feds don’t want to get involved, that’s fine.

    It maybe with you, but I daresay it won’t be generally, and that’s part of the point.

    The feds need to tell the governors of each state explicitly what they will and will not do, and then the state,
    in conjunction with each local government, needs to devise plans for various disasters – knowing what they can and cannot count on from the federal government

    That’s basically how it was before: I think there was a pretty clear understanding and template (of course, not perfect), for the most part, until last year. Now it’s been turned on its head.

    Well, I’m going to modify that what I just said, a bit: I’m still not convinced that bringing FEMA under Homeland Security, when that department was created, along with other reorgs, didn’t help set the stage for all of this, at least the part that was actually a fed problem (as opposed to the massive failure of local and state authorities, with regard to Katrina, to do what they traditionally have indeed been expected to be responsible for).

    I don’t really have the time to hunt down the link now, but remember, a few months back, when a report came out that many of the problems we saw last year as far as federal disorganization were predicted a few years before that by, of all people, Michael Brown?

  • DosPeros

    Noone should be surprised. Everyone should be outraged.

  • probligo

    …not to mention the 10 week (was it?) Hawaiian holiday, the porn bill and massage charges. This was “news” down here about a month or three back… something like $1 billion in scams and lies.

    Only in America… 😀

  • Chris

    So if I understand this correctly, a major American city is devastated, resulting in a significant negative impact on the economy, and the federal government’s response is supposed to be “you’re on your own?” Or should the government focus on getting the petroleum and shipping industry back up and running, but ignore the people who aren’t lucky enough to owbn a major corporation?

    And to be clear, these people aren’t hurricane vicitms, they’re flood victims, caused to a great extent by the fact that federally built levees were substandard in their construction. I guess the government can tell people that the leveees will hold back the water, but walk away when it turns out they’re wrong.

  • Susan

    Let us just help the victims move on, build new homes and build their families again.

  • Sami

    I have something to say as a Katrina survivor – note that I said “survivor” not “victim”. I am a taxpayer, wife, mother, and self-efficient individual. I am someone who you pass on the street everyday. The difference between us is that I have lost my home, all my possessions, and some family members to a devasting event. Almost a year after my whole life was FORCED to change, I wake up every morning, get ready for work, dress my 15 month old son (who luckily will not remember the devastation as I will), bring him to a daycare (which I really cannot afford) and go to work. I had a job that I loved, where I had been for 5 years. I was in fact a fourth generation employee of that company. I was established. I had a life. That life is gone!!! So now I struggle everyday – starting life over again. I do not know anyone in the town that I live in. I am more than 600 miles away from my family.

    I am trying to rebuild my life and, yes, I expect help. I think that is what government is for. Crazy, huh? That a government should actually be there for its people??? Idealic notion, right? Not really. I did not ask to have everything that I have ever known destroyed. And I could never ask for charity – I can, however, as hard as it is for me, ask for help. I work a full-time job, go to school (still) to try to better my life and the life of my child. YOU, yourself, would want no less for your family. I just want help getting some sort of a normal life again. Why is that so much to ask???

  • pam

    I was also a Katrina victim and lost everything that I owned. I do not live in New Orleans now but I grew up there for most of my life. I lost my home to storm surge in a city about 30 miles from New Orleans. My point is that when every other country in the world has problems, earthquakes, psunamies, starvation and hunger and others too numerous to mention, the United States is always expected, and usually does, send help in numerous ways. I have worked in the state of Louisiana for for 31 years, paid my tax dollars, never been on welfare, and raised my 3 kids here. I pride myself on being a hard worker and do my best not to ask anyone for help if I can avoid it. No one expected the devastation that was brought about by Katrina and I have lived through both Hurricanes Betsy and Camille. When we came back to view the devastation of our homes and cities we didn’t even have time to cry about anything. I salvaged what little I could, threw the rest on the front lawn for trash and tried to pick up the pieces. If we turn to our government officials in times of great need then they should be there to assist us. There are some people that took advantage of the situation and found ways to defraud the government but that shouldn’t speak badly of all the citizens that have tried to endure and cope with this mess. Everyone is tired of hearing about things associated with Katrina and enough is enough. We would all like to move on, get on with our lives and put all of this stuff behind us. There is no reason that our tax dollars shouldn’t help us out of Katrina hell. They send men to the moon and our guys are getting killed in a war in Iran that does’t seem to have any resoultion any time soon. No one questions all the money being spent on that. This country needs to pull together when things of this magnitude happen because,at some point and time, we all need help.If you haven’t been to the Gulf Coast region or to the southern part of Louisiana you can’t imagine how devastating this has been. Pictures on television try to show that things are getting better and in alot of ways they are. We have a LONG way to go and we have no one else to depend on except the federal government.