Crossposted at the Shadow BFA Blog
So, Dennis Hastert says rebuilding New Orleans isn't sensible? Wow--I can think of a lot of things that are less sensible than that. How about Bush gutting FEMA? I think that wasn't very sensible. As Molly Ivins points out, it wasn't sensible for the Bush administration to repeal Clinton's wetland protection policies and allow developers to drain thousands of acres of wetlands. Molly continues...
Unfortunately, the war in Iraq is directly related to the devastation left by the hurricane. About 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard is now serving in Iraq, where four out of every 10 soldiers are guardsmen. Recruiting for the Guard is also down significantly because people are afraid of being sent to Iraq if they join, leaving the Guard even more short-handed.
The Louisiana National Guard also notes that dozens of its high-water vehicles, Humvees, refuelers and generators have also been sent abroad. (I hate to be picky, but why do they need high-water vehicles in Iraq?)
This, in turn, goes back to the original policy decision to go into Iraq without enough soldiers and the subsequent failure to admit that mistake and to rectify it by instituting a draft.
The levees of New Orleans, two of which are now broken and flooding the city, were also victims of Iraq war spending. Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, said on June 8, 2004, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq."
This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government policies, not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about our lives.
Know what else makes no freakin' sense at all? The push to eliminate the "death tax". Golly, of course if you ask me "Do you want to eliminate the death tax?", I'd have to say, "Sure! That's just not right, taxing people just for dying!" 'Cept, isn't there another name for that boogey-man tax thingie they want to protect us from? Oh, that's right, the estate tax. On this petition page at MoveOn.org, it says:
The Senate will vote in September to eliminate the Estate Tax for the richest 2 percent of Americans.
Wow, the riches 2%, huh? Imagine all the stuff we could do with that money. Like, oh, I don't know...REBUILDING NEW ORLEANS?! Guess this makes me some sort of socialist or something, but I think if you have an estate such that it puts you in the top two percent, then it is your duty to do what you can to help the poorest of the poor. Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing talking. From Catholic Social Teaching, Option for the Poor:
"If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 Jn 3:17). It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich."
Back to Hastert's comments again...you know what would be sensible? Bankruptcy relief.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mel Watt, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced today that when Congress returns next Tuesday, they will introduce legislation to protect the thousands of families and small businesses financially devastated by Hurricane Katrina from being penalized by anti-debtor provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, scheduled to take effect on October 17, 2005. Reps. Conyers, Nadler, and Jackson Lee released the following joint statement:
"We are concerned that just as survivors of Hurricane Katrina are beginning to rebuild their lives, the new bankruptcy law will result in a further and unintended financial whammy. Unfortunately, the new law is likely to have the consequence of preventing devestated families from being able to obtain relief from massive and unexpected new financial obligations they are incurring and by forcing them to repay their debt with income they no longer have, but which is counted by the law.
How do you think your congresscritter will vote on that legislation? Maybe you should give him or her a little nudge, and say, "The American people are counting on you to do the sensible thing."
Not to mention the decent thing.