Topic: "Where's the Beef?"
"When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I, as President, am responsible for the problem, and for the solution."--George W. Bush, September 15, 2005, from Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Frodo believes in follow-up. Without follow-up, words fail to achieve the status of action.
200,000 housing units that existed before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast are no more, with 400,000 people displaced as a result. 150,000 evacuees remain in hotel rooms, makeshift trailers, and private residences on this date. George W. Bush said, in the same speech, "Our first commitment is to meet the immediate needs of those who had to flee their homes and leave all their possessions behind."
More than 90 days after the disaster, only 63.6% of those displaced are no longer in emergency shelter. Our "first commitment" seems to be a bit behind schedule, doesn't it?
President Bush also said "All of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action." Today, $40 Billion in spending cuts were enacted which impacted greatly on both Medicare and Medicaid benefits for the less affluent members of our society. The President, of course, continues to support the continuance of tax cuts including the revision of the Alternative Minimum Tax and lower rates for Capital Gains. The action with which he confronts poverty, if not bold, is certainly presumptuous.
A House Republican Panel is investigating lapses by FEMA and other agencies. The Chair of the Committee has subpoenaed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials in order to obtain documents which track the decision-making process. The Pentagon has been reluctant to release any such document. President Bush, again from the same speech said "I also want to know about the government response to Hurricane Katrina. . .It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces. . ." Frodo, patiently, is trying to understand why a President, a Defense Secretary, and a Committee Chairman all from the same political party, have to issue subpoenas to each other in order to obtain basic information? Politics aside, all of the parties involved, including the victims, all happen to be Citizens of Middle Earth.
Frodo could go on with this treatise, but the point, hopefully, is clear. Words, without adequate action, are just hot air. Frodo wonders if the President will fly over the Gulf Coast and look out the window on his holiday vacation trip to the ranch in Crawford?
Somehow, the words of Marie Antoinette keep coming to mind.