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.