Wednesday, June 14, 2006

16% of Katrina, Rita aid "unwarranted"

The GAO is now reporting that 16% of the FEMA aid for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was "unwarranted", with money being spent on things like a divorce lawyer and a sex change. I found this part of the story very telling:

"This is an assault on the American taxpayer," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee that will conduct the hearing. "Prosecutors from the federal level down should be looking at prosecuting these crimes and putting the criminals who committed them in jail for a long time."

FEMA spokesman Aaron Walker said Tuesday that the agency, already criticized for a poor response to Katrina, makes its highest priority during a disaster "to get help quickly to those in desperate need of our assistance."

"Even as we put victims first, we take very seriously our responsibility to be outstanding stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we are careful to make sure that funds are distributed appropriately," he said.

McCaul is correct in that these crimes should be aggresively prosecuted, but the assault on the American taxpayer was originally perpetrated by the Feds. Our initial solution to problems in this country is to just throw cash at it. It is politically expedient, it helps people feel good, and we are wealthy enough of a nation to endulge it. When you throw cash at a problem, though, people are going to take advantage of it. Yes, you prosecute those that do, but we also need to look inward at our processes because the Feds made that abuse of aid possible.

No comments: