Thursday, November 02, 2006

Katrina on Their Minds

Apparently, voters outside of the Gulf Coast consider Katrina an election year issue:
Katrina -- or more specifically, how the government reacted to the disaster -- is an issue in some congressional races far removed from the Gulf Coast, popping up during candidate debates and in political ads. It could make the difference in close races as Democrats try to capture a majority in Congress.


"But Katrina was a long time ago," Munger said of the August 2005 storm. "People have an electoral attention span of about 9 months."

Still, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., says she is asked often about the status of recovery efforts as she campaigns for Democratic candidates outside her home region. "It's still very much on the minds of rank and file voters, and that's very encouraging to me," Landrieu said.
That *is* encouraging. This is not:
Some Republicans, like Kuhl in New York, are raising Katrina as an example of how the GOP Congress responded to tragedies by quickly appropriating more than $100 billion in assistance.
Once again, I refer to the Government Accountability Office:
To date, Congress has appropriated approximately $88 billion of federal support through emergency supplemental appropriations to federal agencies for hurricane disaster relief and recovery efforts related to the 2005 hurricanes.
The “more than $100 billion” number has become so accepted that politicians are using it to get elected. It seems to me that $88 billion is still a big number. Why not use that number – the real number – in political campaigns?

And don’t forget that as of August 2006, one year after Katrina, only half of the money that was appropriated had gotten “into the hands.”

Run on that.


mominem said...

Wasn't a lot of that to pay flood insurance claims the Feds were obligated to pay?

da po' boy said...

As of September, the federal government had paid $15 billion in flood claims that, yes, they were obligated to pay. (

The estimated total that the feds will have to pay is $23 billion, which I am pretty sure is the extra money added to the $88 billion to make the "more than $100 billion" (sometimes $110 billion) claim.

In August, Chairman Powell said $44 billion had made it "into the hands." (See the link in the post.) He also said that 75 percent of that, which is $33 billion, went to "state and local spending." At the time, I didn't think he was including the $15 billion in flood claims that were paid. In fact, I didn't even consider that until your comment. If that were true, then as of August, only $18 billion out of $88 billion in aid unrelated to flood insurance had made it to the Gulf Coast.

That number seems small, so I have to think that Powell was not including the $15 billion in his calculations. I can think of at least one time when he did not use flood payments in his calculations. (

But, you never know.

Sophmom said...

It should be a national issue. It is all of our government, discovered to be a lie, the benevolent rescuer, choosing not to rescue its own.

I'm just catching up. You're on fire. A really great string of posts.