I opened my morning paper today to find that a report from the government concludes that Hurricane Sandy was the 2nd costliest storm in U.S. history. Fair enough. I buy that. They say that the TOTAL losses from the storm will be $50 billion. That sounds about right. But, being the inquisitive person that I am, I am confused by the Government math regarding this terrible tragedy. Our beloved President and his caring Congress members 1st passed $10 billion of aid in December and then capped that off with another $50 billion in January. It seems they are paying $10 billion more than the actual costs of the storm.
But wait. I remembered that there is a thing called insurance. Every person has to have insurance for their homes and cars. It’s the law you know. Just the slightest bit of investigation reveals that insurance companies are paying out $25 billion related to Hurricane Sandy.
Now I’m really confused. If the TOTAL losses from Hurricane Sandy were $50 billion and $25 billion were covered by insurance, that leaves $25 billion. Our beloved leaders in Washington DC, with the urging of Fat Boy Christie and Nazi Bloomberg, are paying out $60 billion of your tax dollars so rich pricks can rebuild their mansions on the beach.
I know I’m just a CPA and MBA, but based on my math, you the taxpayer have been fucked over to the tune of $35 billion that isn’t hurricane relief at all. It is a payoff for votes and to unions. That is $300 per every household in the United States. Could you use that $300? Do you think some asshole from FEMA can spend it better than you?
Obama isn’t going to add one cent to the deficit. Right?
Hurricane Sandy Was Second-Costliest In U.S. History, Report Shows
AP | By By DAVID PORTER
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Superstorm Sandy was the deadliest hurricane to hit the northeastern U.S. in 40 years and the second-costliest in the nation’s history, according to a report released Tuesday.
The storm’s effects reached far and wide, according to the National Hurricane Center report. While Sandy visited devastation on the East Coast, principally New Jersey and New York, it created wind gusts as far west as Wisconsin and as far north as Canada and caused water levels to rise from Florida to Maine, the center found.
The hurricane center attributed 72 U.S. deaths directly to Sandy, from Maryland to New Hampshire. That is more than any hurricane to hit the northeastern U.S. since Hurricane Agnes killed 122 people in 1972, according to the center’s records covering 1851 to 2010. The report counted at least 87 other deaths that were indirectly tied to Sandy, from causes such as hypothermia due to power outages, carbon monoxide poisoning and accidents during cleanup efforts.
The deadliest hurricane in U.S. history hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900 and killed 8,000 to 12,000 people.
The report estimated damage caused by Sandy at $50 billion, greater than any U.S. hurricane except Katrina, which in 2005 caused $108 billion in damage, or $128 billion adjusted to 2012 dollars. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused $26.5 billion in damage in Florida, or the equivalent of $44 billion today.
Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill: Wasteful Spending Not Helpful
President Obama signed into law a $50 billion recovery package for states hit by Hurricane Sandy. Much of the proposed spending in the law, however, is simply wasteful and will not go toward helping the immediate victims.
This is unacceptable at a time when the U.S. is running trillion-dollar budget deficits. While the catastrophic scope of Sandy merited a federal response, Congress missed an opportunity to establish clear requirements for when a disaster warrants a federal response. Failure to deal with this serious problem will continue to erode preparedness for future catastrophic disasters.
While providing for some worthwhile items, such as $5.4 billion for repair of tunnels and other damaged infrastructure, much of the act is aimed at either mitigating future events or repairing or replacing federal assets, not assisting the immediate victims. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that at least half the funds will be disbursed after 2015—not exactly time-sensitive, emergency spending.
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R–NH) summed it up well: “[I]f a main goal of the Sandy relief legislation that passed the Senate was to quickly get resources into the hands of those who need it most, the final product fell short.”
The act includes billions for “future” disaster mitigation projects and for repair or replacement of federal “assets” in such agencies as the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Justice; the Social Security Administration; and the Smithsonian. It also includes money to improve weather forecasting and research at a host of agencies. While some of these spending programs likely have merit, they should be proposed through the regular budget process—not by attaching them to truly necessary assistance to hurting people.
Moreover, any new spending programs should be offset by finding savings elsewhere during these trying fiscal times. Senator Mike Lee (R–UT) offered a commonsense amendment to offset a portion of the costs of the package, but it was defeated in a party-line vote. “We have to stop and consider the fact that we are more than $16 trillion in debt and we’re adding to that debt at a rate of more than $1 trillion every single year,” Lee stated.
Not only does this act add to the deficit, but it is also reflects another symptom of government growth: over-federalization of natural disasters. In less than two years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a stunning 353 disaster declarations—despite the absence of major hurricanes or earthquakes (except Hurricanes Irene and Sandy). This high operational tempo keeps FEMA in a perpetual response mode, leaving little time and few resources to prepare to handle a real catastrophic disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy.
To reverse this trend, Congress should modify the Stafford Act to establish which disasters meet the federal requirements for disaster dollars. Such clarifications should include clear requirements that limit the situations in which declarations can be issued. Congress should also reduce the cost-share provision for all FEMA declarations to no more than 25 percent of the costs are covered by the federal government, so that most of the costs of a disaster are borne by taxpayers living in the affected state or states.