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RedScare

Katrina Rebuilding Costs

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Watching all the news about president Bush's promise to spend "whatever it takes" to rebuild the South, coupled with his admission that poverty is linked to racism is the talk of the talk shows today.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9367762/page/2/

The tab is predicted to exceed $200 Billion, yet Bush says he won't raise taxes. He says it will be financed by cutting other spending, but since the administration has been stiffing domestic spending already, where does it come from...defense? Clearly, the president is trying to soothe anger over the slow response by throwing money at the recovery, but will this make moderates and liberals like him, or just make the conservatives pissed at him, too?

My opinion is that libs won't change their mind and moderates will never trust him again, but conservatives will be livid at the amount of money spent. The anger over government spending will likely produce some spiteful rhetoric, as normally careful speaking right wingers "tell it like it is". This will not help the Republicans, as the carefully constructed veneer of "compassionate conservatism" will be ripped apart, and the ugly hard right will be exposed.

Additionally, the cost of paying for "two Iraqs", the war and the hurricane, at $200 Billion each, will blow the already wide deficit wider. This may add high inflation to the high gas prices for a double economic whammy.

Overall, I believe the president can't win. Our policy of short changing domestic priorities and throwing money at irrational fears, as opposed to legitimate ones, while refusing to pay upfront for any of it, will be coming back to haunt us.

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I'm willing to take my political hat off long enough to say that I think we should rebuild New Orleans.

If nothing else, start at the French Quarter, raze & re-zone to the north & east, deed restrict, and then re-build. As for current land owners, give them first crack at re-building. If they don't want to re-build, I'm sure they'll get a good asking price for the land.

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I agree that Bush is trying to make amends by throwing money at the problem. This is the worst scenario in my opinion, since Bush will surely just heap the cost onto the already-exploding national debt and try to make everyone feel good for "free", just like all his other massive spending. We know that other spending won't be cut.

Once upon a time, the Republican party was the party of financial responsibility (say in the Gingrich era). Now they've become the party of financial irresponsibility and Bush is moving it towards plain recklessness.

I would like to see a national surcharge on income tax to pay for Katrina and Iraq. For example, everyone adds 10% to their tax bill. People need to realize that these things cost money. The deficit could reach a stunning $550 or $600 billion dollars if they don't generate additional revenue (FY 2005 was $331 billion but projected to go up).

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I agree that we need to rebuild, and the feds should assist in the effort. I also agree on the deed restrictions, or city ordinances, requiring first floor levels at or above sea level. I think some sort of escape door and/or balcony should be required for attics, also.

Apparently, according to NPR, there are plenty of buyers for New Orleans property. Rumor has it that many of the poor will not return, and New Orleans will benefit from rebuild money as well as less of a burden for support services for the poor. Time will tell if the gamble on New Orleans property pays off.

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Great ideas on attic/roof access. I don't know about the building above sea level however. The only reason why is that unless they raise the elevation before building, every house will have to be built on piers. Maybe with facades, you could match the previous architecture. If not, you'll just replicate any "fishing town".

I think it will pay off too, for the same reasons as NPR. The load has been lightened. Only those who can "afford" to move back will. New Orleans could potentially become the new Las Vegas! (Gretna & Algiers would be the equivelant of North Las Vegas though..)

I sure wish I had some investment money.

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Galveston has a rule that any new construction be 1 to 3 feet above the highest storm surge, which is 16 feet. Obviously, there may be a lot of stilt houses with this requirement, but the largest natural disaster in US history demands a response other than business as usual. I can picture many homes where the lot is raised 5 feet, and a pier and beam house raising the floor another 3 feet. The street and sidewalk can remain at it's original level to serve as flood control, similar to Houston streets.

The federal government is going to spend a lot of money rebuilding New Orleans. Grants can be given to raise the level of lots and/or houses. It will be far cheaper, in the long run, to pay to raise the houses than to continue to pay for rehabilitation of homes that are repeatedly flooded.

This is a policy that should be enacted nationwide. Federal flood insurance only cost a few hundred dollars a year, yet allows unlimited claims. The taxpayers should not be paying for rich peoples vaction homes over and over. Talk about your entitlement mentality...

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Galveston has a rule that any new construction be 1 to 3 feet above the highest storm surge, which is 16 feet.

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Well, it makes me nervous, but I suppose that with careful planning and good construction it could be pulled off. I say raze entire neighborhoods & commercial sites and then raise the elevation. Have the government pay for that part. Let the investors pay for everything else. I don't mind my tax dollars paying for new levees, pumps, & raised elevations - but not much else.

Entitlement mentality??  :o Your worst entitlement mentality has been all these evacuees getting on the camera and griping for more assistance. Last night on KTRK they showed a woman complaining that the volunteers weren't doing enough for her family. Her actual quote was: "Houston, you need to help us better". WTF? How much better do you want it lady? She's not the only one either. I notice too that its only been the ones in the shelters that have found they're way on to TV to complain. I've yet to see anyone they've interviewed staying in a home with 20 to 50 other family members, or in a motel complain about a thing (minus the ones that didn't pay their bill - which after we did the math, realized the owner is in a tight spot himself).

Talk about you're entitlement mentality..

But Red was talking about taxpayers repeatedly paying for rich people's vacation homes. Everyone already knows about the abuse by the few regarding evacuee relief. What is rarely discussed is the Elephant in the Room: tax-cuts for the wealthy and corporate welfare. Imagine if the tax cuts were repealed and a fraction of the corporate welfare was eliminated. I think that would be a good start in putting a dent in the huge increase to the deficit we are about to incur responding to the destruction caused by this hurrricane.

I have no illusions the Bush administration would ever allow this to happen, however. Just add it to the long list of incompetent decisions and non-decisions the Bush administration is famous for.

B)

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Having lived through the disaster of 'slum clearance' and 'urban renewal' in the 60's, I shudder at the distinct possibility that the rebuilding of New Orleans will a ham-handed mess.

While it's likely that many - if not most - of the most severely flooded buildings will have to be razed, there are many buildings of historic and architectural significance in New Orleans which might be needlessly lost due to wholesale demolition.

Handing a contract to Halliburton with instructions to bulldoze a few square miles of one of America's most historic cities sounds like a recipe for another disaster. Better to take a bit more time, live with the mess for a while, and retain those parts which are worth saving.

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Handing a contract to Halliburton with instructions to bulldoze a few square miles of one of America's most historic cities sounds like a recipe for another disaster. Better to take a bit more time, live with the mess for a while, and retain those parts which are worth saving.

Oh I agree completely. I'm referring to specific places throughout the city though. Some places that were nothing but ghetto (Ninth Ward), and others that were nice - but held no real New Orlnean's specific architecture (Lakeview).

As for historic nieghborhoods like the French Quarter, Garden District, Carrollton, and parts of Midcity - I say carefully, one-by-one, attempt to renovate.

I really think that all said and done, New Orleans is going to be able to turn over a new leaf and really shine for Louisiana - if redeveloped conservatively, fairly, and with New Orleans's soul in mind.

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