Amanda at Think Progress reports the current state of New Orleans on the eve of Katrina’s one year anniversary:
— Less than half of the city’s pre-storm population of 460,000 has returned, putting the population at roughly what it was in 1880.
— Nearly a third of the trash has yet to be picked up.
— Sixty percent of homes still lack electricity.
— Seventeen percent of the buses are operational.
— Half of the physicians have left, and there is a shortage of 1,000 nurses.
— Six of the nine hospitals remain closed.
— Sixty-six percent of public schools have reopened.
— A 40 percent hike in rental rates, disproportionately affecting black and low-income families.
— A 300 percent increase in the suicide rate.
Eighty-four percent of New Orleans residents rate the government’s recovery efforts negatively, , while 66 percent believe the recovery money has been “mostly wasted.”
Amanda reproachfully quotes the person she regards as responsible:
Standing in Jackson Square on Sept. 15, President Bush stated, “This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina” and promised to “get the work done quickly.”
$117 billions in federal allocations for last years’ hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma is not enough. George W. Bush is somehow personally at fault for local inefficiency and corruption in the same New Orleans which re-elected clownish Mayor Ray Nagin.
One year, and billions upon billions of federal recovery assistance dollars later, a corrupt and dysfunctional city with incompetent pols sitting atop a corrupt one-party political system is still whining and blaming everybody but itself. And New Orleans has still got its hand out, looking for more pity and more other people’s dollars.
Galveston was far worse devastated in 1900 by a hurricane featuring 135 mph winds which killed as many as 12,000 people (out of 42,000), and which caused Galveston forever to cease to be a major port and a major city. But the people in Galveston didn’t blame the president and the federal government for their troubles. They didn’t look for free trailers and two thousand dollar ATM cards, and they did not expect the rest of the country to rebuild their uninsured property.
A lot of people in New Orleans, and on the left generally, are simply avoiding facing the obvious moral that the practice of shifting all responsibility for your fate onto the distant shoulders of a variety of complex and impersonal federal bureaucracies does not always produce a very desirable result, no matter how much money gets spent.