Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why Rebuild New Orleans When We Can Keep Destroying Iraq?

AP - “On Monday President Bush said the huge job of rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina was just beginning a year after the massive storm but expressed hope that the $110 billion of help sent from Washington would be enough. Trying to erase the black mark left on his presidency by the administration's sluggish response to Katrina, Bush returned to the first scene he saw a year ago of the storm's devastation. Standing on a vacant lot in a working class neighborhood where trailers and gutted buildings stand next to newly built homes, Bush pledged the federal government would stand with the region as it rebuilds. It's a promise viewed with skepticism by victims still reeling from the storm.

"A year ago, I committed our federal government to help you," Bush said. "I said, `We have a duty to help the local people recover and rebuild,' and I meant what I said." Of the $110 billion in hurricane aid approved by Congress, just $44 billion has been spent. Overall, the administration has released $77 billion to the states, reserving the rest for future needs. "Hopefully that'll work. Hopefully that's enough," Bush said after visiting a company that has restarted its business of building and repairing boats. "It's certainly enough to get us through the next period of time."

(Joseph Stigletz, former chief economist of the World Bank has suggested the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be $1 trillion in a conservative scenario.)