INDIANAPOLIS, February 11, 2012 -Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), like all politicians, wants to make constituents grateful, and she’s (like most politicians) using your money to do it.
The perennially-fouled-up Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as part of its continuing self-embarrassment, admitted last June that it mistakenly gave away at least $385 million of your cash in a rush to make victims of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina feel better. Now, after FEMA figured it out and admitted its mistake and made efforts to collect (and actually did collect from some 2300 honest people), Senator Landrieu got a bill through the Senate that instructs FEMA to tell the 90,000 or so people it has found, that if they don’t make more than $90,000, they won’t have to give back the money.
If you’re poor (under $90,000 a year is poor?), Senator Landrieu simply expects you to be irresponsible (like FEMA) and dishonest (like she is). Besides, being able to collect is different from trying to collect; both are different from actually collecting. This cat’s done escaped from the bag.
So, who gets hurt (besides you)? Well, nobody has a plan to repeat the mistake and give a “refund” to the 2,300 or so folks who were honest enough to return the mistake money.
What can be done? Who is responsible? Most of those who kept the money won’t be held responsible, if they make less than 90 grand a year. (Apparently, those who make more than that can go to prison for doing the same thing. Soak – or imprison – “the rich.”)
Certainly no one at FEMA will ever be held responsible — it’s OK to throw taxpayers’ money out the window; incompetence is just fine in the federal bureaucracy. Nobody at FEMA is being disciplined; no one at FEMA is being fired. Perhaps even worse: no one at FEMA is being rewarded, either — whoever spotted the mistake and tried to recover will no doubt be forever a pariah. Worst, though, is that no one will be forced to replace the money they lost or stole — and that Senator Landrieu is somehow going to get praise for her complicity in this fraud, misuse of public funds, continued theft, and coverup.
…and please resist the knee-jerk temptation to “blame Bush.” Those incompetent people can still be found, if anyone really believes in governmental responsibility. Former FEMA employees have to be easier to find than former Katrina victims.
Tim Kern is a technical and publicity writer near Indianapolis. See TimKern.com.
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