A National Failure

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According to the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government purchased 25,000 trailers at a cost of nearly $900 million as housing for Katrina victims. Most of them were never used, and thousands are rotting away because they were improperly stored.

The same day as this report came out, the GAO reported that many of the federal $2,000 emergency debit cards given to hurricane victims were used to buy such things as porno tapes, tattoos, weapons, and diamond rings.

Meanwhile, a Republican-dominated committee in the House plans to release a report saying that the federal response to Katrina was “a national failure, an abdication of the most solemn obligation to provide for the common welfare.”

I’d like to ask the so-called Republicans who wrote this report: Did you ever consider the possibility that the federal government is simply too big and too clumsy to fulfill such an obligation? And isn’t that exactly the reason why the Constitution leaves such activities to the states, not the federal government? And why President Cleveland once vetoed a bill providing relief to a drought-stricken area, saying “I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit”?

Apparently not even the Republicans in Washington consider a limited federal government an option anymore.

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