Too Great Expectations

The NYT has an article titled “Volunteer Groups Lag in Replacing Gulf Houses”…

But almost 18 months after storms destroyed more than 250,000 homes,
Habitat for Humanity says it has built just 10 houses for poor
hurricane victims here, 36 in New Orleans, and a total of 416 along the
entire coast, from Alabama to Texas. More are under construction, for a
total of 702.

OK I think it is important for donors to know whether Habitat and the other groups mentioned are keeping their promises. But really what moron could look at a devastated area of 90000 square miles with more than a quarter of a million destroyed homes and think that could be rebuilt by charities?


From day 1, that’d be post vacation, Bush told people to “contribute cash to a
charity of your choice” and well my mouth dropped. Surely what was called for was a Marshall Plan to steer recovery. Certainly a President would gather the best minds and managers to develop and implement that plan. Clearly, that President would rally the American people to support their fellow citizens and government to do what needs to be done. Undoubtably, such a leader would regularly inform us of the progress being made. Competently, such a leader would crack heads in the government to remove obstacles and bureaucratic red tape impeding progress. Dexterously, he would call in the heads of insurance companies to let them know they needed to work the claims and cut the checks or how could he stand in the way should someone on the Hill introduce legislation to look at that whole anti-trust thing. Decidely, that President would have united state and local leaders to set aside competing political interests for the common good of the people in need. Inspirationally, our President would have spoke to keep Americans on board in this compassionate common cause and duty.

Right, what was I thinking.

Don’t get me wrong I applaud what charities have done but they have been asked to do more than what they are capable of doing. That much of the Gulf Coast still lies in ruins a year and a half later is testament to the failure of the conservative idea that the private sector, business and charities, could replace good government. Of course Bush would no more admit that stark reality than he would admit the failure of his Iraq policy.

7 thoughts on “Too Great Expectations

  1. Do you know, I don’t think that the cretin in chief really believed that charities would be able to replace government assistance. I suspect he thought that his idea of the needy as grasping, unreasonable frauds was what the charities would encounter. The ensuing wrangle would convince the ‘do-gooders’ that they were wrong. It didn’t happen. Don’t you imagine he’s convinced that the charities are just worthless, too.

  2. >>testament to the failure of the conservative idea that the private sector, business and charities, could replace good government.
    I’m always shocked when I hear that argument, because it demonstrates either a really shocking ignorance of how big corporations actually work or some serious fucking mendacity. No company’s going to rush in where there is no immediate profit incentive to do so. And even as a long term investment, NOLA’s prospects are bleak, what with stronger hurricanes and rising sea levels and all.
    Did the president do anything to make it more attractive for the private sector to get involved in NOLA reconstruction? Tax credits? Promises of Halliburton style graft? Anyone? Anyone?

  3. it’s sad to think what the Clenis™ or FDR would have done if it had happened under their reigns.
    shit, even ronnie raygun woulda milked it.

  4. Good post. You’re quite right. Charities are fine for tackling emergencies, either on a grand or on a personal scale, but long-term recovery plans should be a collective effort by state and federal agencies and governments, possibly with assistance from charities but not forcibly so, and there should indeed be some overarching plan. Instead it seems there’s a “ignore it and it’ll go away” attitude. All very well (well, not, but another story) when it’s some overseas disaster, but this is within America itself.
    pansypoo, sad indeed, but perhaps with the changeover in Congress this is something that can be pushed through despite the present occupant of the Oval Office. The Dems have some more sway: let’s see them take the initiative on this.

  5. Here in NOLA the charities have done great work, but the magnitude of the Federal Flooding of our city requires Federal aid and direction. Much of the probs for the charities’ work here is lack of contractors and the rising price of materials.(Trust me… these factors are killing us getting our home fixed.)
    18 months ago I called for a “Marshall Plan” to fix the Coast, and there is nothing like that going down. Here in NOLA, many of us are hanging on by our fingernails and going crazy in trying to keep the place going. We didn’t cause this, the Corpse of Engineers did. Why are we being tortured?

  6. To put this in perspective you have to have a knowledge of American history, specifically of the Hoover administration and the Great Depression.
    Donate to charities was exactly what Hoover recommended when it became impossible to hide the reality that the country, and indeed the world, had entered a disastrous economic slump.
    Hoover saw no role for the government, and neither does the Shrubbery, because to do something would be to emulate FDR, the hobgoblin of Republan [in “ic” for an “ic”] nightmares.
    Local communities are wiped out, but they are expected to come up with matching funds to receive Federal assistance.

  7. Good point Bryan. But I ask, what happened to the economy during Hoover’s Administration? Something about the great depression…

Comments are closed.