I have to admit, when I first thought about the political ramifications of Harvey and now Irma, I had a lot of snarky ideas about how the GOPers are suddenly all about big government, collective effort, bailouts, handouts and so on. Others were more clever about it, but never mind.
But it made me sick of politics. I feel like I am programmed to automatically change the subject sometimes, internally, and ideas about politics seem to facilitate that. Over 100,000 homes were damaged by Harvey, just to look at it one way. Who cares if the response reveals politicians to be full of shit? Is anyone surprised by that? Is that the conversation we need right now?
There is already widespread destruction, and Irma could make Harvey look like a piker. If Trump and the rest of the GOP-controlled government resorts to hypocrisy in order to help people recover from the disaster, let’s not put too fine a point on it. If the GOP unintentionally reveals that the government can actually function effectively, let 'em. Yay! Results!
I don’t think any corporation or any other organization (other than maybe the World Bank or the UN &etc, if this were their kind of thing) has the capacity to mount a fully effective response. They can help, but the government and the local communities themselves are the main players. The Democrats can reclaim their values and use all of this come election time, but for now let’s not change the subject for now, people are getting hurt and it is getting worse.
I’m sure there are at least two sides to it though. What about potential waste, fraud, and abuse in the response? Politics don’t ever entirely vanish, do they?
Did politics play a role in causing the disaster? Certainly, Harvey didn’t come to Texas because we’re a deep red state.* But, what roles did politics play in preventing preparations for storms in general, and this one in particular? I read that a study was done on some of the reservoirs in Houston and it was determined that larger channels were needed to send overflow water to the Gulf rather than into people’s homes. The report was then shelved and no action was taken. Why not? Did the Texas Legislature (mostly GOP) fail to allocate money for the construction? Did Houston/Harris officials (mostly Dem) fail to act?
With recovery itself, were the proper people hired by Fed/State/Local officials to handle the response to such an event? Was funding appropriate to put resources in place before this (or any) storm hit?
Politics plays a part in all of that.
*Surely someone has claimed that the USA is being pummeled by these storms because God is angry at our wicked ways.
I expect Houston will be compared to Miami. Miami had… Andrew? Did a lot of damage, forced them to upgrade their building codes &etc. Houston seems to have been caught more unprepared, but we’ll see. Then we can all point and laugh at the Goofuses who made the wrong choices and now have to live with them, but still, it is a disaster and people need help.
Because it has been a glibertarian paradise for developers, who worked to pave every square inch that they could get their shovels into. The severe flooding wrought by Harvey was not caused by Harvey, it was caused by overdevelopment with little oversight and inadequate mitigation.
Andrew certainly didn’t help George HW Bush with his reelection campaign. Bush was excellent with foreign policy, he presided over the end of the cold war and Desert Storm. However, after the economy began to slow and attention turned to domestic affairs, Bush certainly looked weaker. The fight over Clarence Thomas, the recession, Bush looking confused at a supermarket scanner, and a slow response to the hurricane all hurt Bush in his reelection bid which he lost to Bill Clinton. Andrew wasn’t the only problem that Bush had, but it was the last major event for him to deal with as president before the election.
Yes, we need to pass the relief funding and so on even though some politicians are hypocrites, and now is the time to do that. But we also need to expose those hypocritical politicians, and now is also the time to do that. Because Harvey and Irma won’t be the last hurricanes, and the next one might not strike the hypocrites’ home states, and so they’re likely to try to block relief funding for those, just like they did for Sandy.
Most of our politicians, though, like to leave the recriminations against The Other until a bit later, once official enquiries and their reports start becoming available. That way, the pot can be kept simmering for quite a long time, say, until the next election.
I was thinking about posting some queries about disaster relief, but realized I needed to research the subject before doing so. As someone living in the relatively natural disaster-free Chicago area, I’m curious about what types of damage ought to be addressed by federal aid, as opposed to state aid, or personal insurance. But given my ignorance on what I imagine is a terribly complex topic, I’ll refrain from saying more.
I will note, however, that there does appear to be considerable hypocrisy (not unusual in politics), of “conservatives” favoring bailouts when their ox has been gored. But pretty much everyone favors government spending when it is in support of something they value.
I never looked at it that way. HW seems like the last rational Republican to occupy the WH, and he did seem to have his share of accomplishments. But he got tagged with that ‘wimp’ label and you’re right, Andrew probably only fed into that perception. I just never connected those dots!
Perhaps we can say that the flooding was *exacerbated *by the lack of development regulations.
It’s a bit of a “tragedy of the commons” situation. Each developer (in the absence of regulations) will tend to think “My development is not a big deal… Not that large in the overall scheme of things. So I will maximize pavement and not spend money on flood mitigation. Let those OTHER developers do that, and all will be well.”
So nobody does it. Flood mitigation is all “someone else’s” responsibility.
It seems though that in Texas, there is a great reluctance to tell private developers what to do. So you will inevitably get a situation where decisions are made that benefit each individual developer, but are hugely detrimental to the community as a whole. Most places understand this. They put regulations in place to protect the community as a whole. But Texas seems to have missed this.
Again - the Hurricane is not absolved of all responsibility. However, the flooding was *exacerbated *by the lack of development regulations.
It is a two-prong strategery: if the place that the illegals are sneaking in to is so dreadfully fucked up as to devalue the prospect of sneaking into there, the cost of the wall will be much lower because it will not have to be so impressively impenetrable.
Well, didn’t realize this was an old thread I had already responded to!
THIS time through, I was thinking, when you see politics, I see economics. Look at any political decision, locally or nationally, and a lot of it depends on who is paying for/profiting from it. One of my biggest objections is people/entities not bearing all of the reasonably foreseeable costs of their actions. Re: disasters - you want to move into a floodplain or where hurricanes occur? Then pay what is necessary to do whatever you can to protect yourself - in terms of construction/supplies/insurance/transportation… If people can’t afford to live where natural disasters are more likely, then maybe businesses either have to pay more or have to locate elsewhere.
Looked at another way, governments at all levels need to acknowledge the potential damage and prepare through taxes, regulations, infrastructure, whatever. I could be convinced that this is best paid for by the localities/states - or the nation as a whole. But just be up front about it as an expected expense, budget for it, and don’t just write a check for our grandkids to pay off. And learn from the past, rather than just rebuilding as before and repeating. Of course, construction companies, utilities, insurance companies, and many other groups profit nicely from the current approach, so why change what works (for THEM!)