Thursday, September 15, 2005

President Bush On Rebuilding After Katrina In Gulf Coast

The Presidents speech tonight I thought was exactly as it should have been. It had the right tone of balance between inspiration, resolve but most importantly that he is in control, he is responsible, and he will see to it that the region gets the help it needs to rebuild.


I think as bad as the coverage and blame that President got during the disaster, there is huge upside to do the right think in the Gulf region and to get the credit that will be deserved if that is what happens.

Per Fox:

"Tonight I also offer this pledge of the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes … we will stay as long as it takes … to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives," Bush said.

Bush made the commitment to the region that the people who faced the disaster needed to hear, that he will see to it that the region rebuilds and it will be a better place than before. That is a pretty powerful message and commitment, and if I lived in the region I would feel pretty good about that commitment.

In the speech, the president promised that federal funds will cover "the great majority of the costs" associated with rebuilding the Gulf Coast region, including roads, bridges, schools and water systems.

"The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. When that job is done, all Americans will have something to be very proud of — and all Americans are needed in this common effort," he said.

This mean a lot of money and even financially conservative people should agree that this is a time to spend federal money. It has to be guarded to ensure that the pork and fraud gang don't make a pork barrel mud hole out of the effort and the Inspector General is a great idea to watch out for fraud and pork. Just like in New York after 911, this is a time to spend large amounts of money to help cities and a region rebuild.

Polling shows Americans are willing to pay to rebuild New Orleans. According to a CBS-New York Times poll released Wednesday, 73 percent expect their taxes will increase as a result of Katrina, and more than half said they were willing to pay more taxes to help with Katrina recovery, job training and housing for victims.

Americans support this effort and the President locked into that support and assured the 73% that he will see it done. He put his personal stamp on the rebuilding as he should.

The President talked about attacking poverty and creating an environment that lifted the poor up and giving them a better way. I'm all for that, its good for those affected and for the tax base, aside from just making the country a better place to live. It can't be a disaster recovery welfare program without a plan to permanently move people out of poverty with skills and a means to stay out of poverty. It should require personal accountability as well as a sound path out to make a lasting impact on poor peoples lives and prospects.

The President took responsibility for the things that went wrong on a Federal level and tactfully circled the failures on the state and local levels. One of the most interesting things he said was that the military should have a stronger role and say in such disasters. I agree completely since the only thing that worked after Katrina is when the military took over and that's when we saw things improve dramatically. Without the military oversight and action things would not have improved one bit I'd say. Increased Military control in disaster recovery will probably be a bitter fight however. The silos that caused most of the problems in this disaster will rear their heads again on this idea just like they did after 911.

Governors of both parties were adamantly against any federal control of the National Guard or the Recovery after 911 when the whole Home Land Security department was being drafted up. The Feds wanted the military to take over and be in control during emergencies like Katrina, Governors said "Hell No" thats my turf. We saw what that brought the Gulf Coast, and it was not a good thing. I see military control as the only way to make things work in a disaster like Katrina. A federal disaster must prompt military control in disasters to make the recovery as effective as it can be. Local & State governments simply can't respond or command a relief effort like Katrina requires, we saw that in vivid detail. It's time for them to admit that and let the Military be in control minute one going forward. It will saves lives is say....................................