Anyone wondering where the federal government is
going to get the money to pay for relief and reconstruction in
the wake of Hurricane Katrina -- and now, so it appears,
Hurricane Rita -- would do well to take a look at the weekend
navy moored in the nearest marina. ... or the luxury cars
crowding the freeway. ... or the number of folks willing to pay
top dollar to see obscenely-paid entertainers or athletes
This is a
wealthy country with little compunction about spending on
There is no
legitimate reason to run up the already too large deficit and
national debt borrowing from foreign sources and saddling our
children and grandchildren with the burden of paying for what is
our immediate obligation. The hurricanes did not strike just the
Gulf Coast; they struck America.
The response in
the way of voluntary contributions of both money and service
tells us that the majority of Americans recognize that.
Generosity knows no bounds when it comes to providing for
someone in dire straits. But private charity cannot do it all or
even most of it. As we learned during the Depression years,
government must step in if the relief effort is to succeed.
political reality rules out any serious effort to implement the
proposals being tossed about in Congress. Rescinding the tax
cut, postponing programs or trimming the budget won't work. It
would take more than the most severe natural disaster ever to
dissuade the interests that would be directly affected.
precedent, however, for enacting a temporary surtax on both
personal and corporate income tax. It was done in the early days
of our involvement in Vietnam when President Johnson sought both
guns and butter. The cause now is more clearly defined and
supported by the American people. A surtax applied to incomes in
the second half of this year and all of 2006 would probably
suffice. Especially if it could be levied on incomes before they
are squeezed through the loopholes, it would result in everyone
paying a share proportionate to their means.
most benign side effect of the disaster is that it has brought
to the fore the plight of the poor. Hopefully, the jolt of
seeing the impact on what mostly has been an invisible
underclass will be lasting enough that a real effort to change
conditions will follow. In many respects, the storm or storms
will have started a genuine 'war on poverty' not unlike the
racial civil rights revolution touched off by the murder of Dr.
Martin Luther King and the urban riots that followed.
to read the Washington Post's take on the topic.
Here in New Castle County one can only hope
that the focus will not be on the plight of one refugee family
-- albeit one which can rightfully claim to have been misplaced
in temporary housing -- and away from the cooperative effort
initiated by county government and supported by a host of
organizations and individuals to aid Katrina victims.
to read the Delaforum article reporting on the effort in its
is blame to be placed, it rightly belongs on a system that
allows sex crime perpetrators with alleged proclivity to repeat
to settle in residential neighborhoods. True, it was ill-advised
to put a family already suffering loss into such a situation.
But it also is true that other families living in the
neighborhood are equally endangered.
With the war in Iraq all but crowded out of
the news by the storms, you may not have noticed that the toll
of American military killed has passed the 1,900 mark.
to see their faces.
Any resident willing to commit to
attending a series of 10 monthly meetings
can have a direct voice in setting the parameters for the future of
New Castle County.