Sunday, April 25, 2010

Emergency Management

I often watch the afternoon court television shows. I know, it drives my wife nuts, but they come on at a time of day when I am usually tiring and in need of a break and, frankly, I enjoy them. Anyway, once in a while the battle is over the division of funds received from FEMA following Katrina or some other disaster.

I’m getting a picture of FEMA that is a very mixed bag. News media tells of FEMA that is missing in action; people unable to get compensation, and credit cards being used by government employees instead of victims. Then there are the idiots on these daytime court television shows.

One couple had lived in a one-bedroom apartment, moved to another city and received $24,000 for “housing allowance.” Another person had an eight-year-old car that, being as it was paid off, was insured only as to liability and received $8000 compensation for its loss.

Given that private insurance companies are not writing flood insurance policies, I am quite comfortable with the government providing relief for people who lost their property in a flood. I am entirely comfortable with the government providing temporary housing for people who have lost their homes to any natural cause beyond their reasonable control.

But a $24,000 “housing allowance” to someone who had been living in a rented one-bedroom apartment? Replacing an automobile for someone who had made a decision not to insure it?

Another hurricane season is nearly here; is there more of this kind of blend between tight-fistedness and money-throwing carelessness in front of us?

We need, are entitled, to better emergency management than that.

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