NEW ORLEANS - President Bush was expected to tell the nation Thursday night the government would pay most of the costs of rebuilding the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast in one of the largest reconstruction projects the world has ever seen — estimated to cost $200 billion or beyond.
Um, bringing all resources to bear to help rescue people in immediate danger is one thing. Perhaps using some public resources (if voluntary giving isn't enough--it might be) to help out with short term lodging, food and clothing for refugees is somewhat justifiable given the magnitude of this event.
However, committing the rest of the country to pay for most of the rebuilding is quite another thing, especially when the promise appears to be just a futile attempt to ingratiate oneself with the crooked and incompetent local officials who failed to to meet their own public duty by preparing an immediate response plan for a predictable disaster, and who spent the first days after the storm on TV demanding that OTHER people do something.
As for rebuilding, that's what insurance is for, isn't it? The people down there lived with the calculated risk of hurricanes, just as we midwesterners live with the risk of tornadoes, hail, ice storms, and flooding of our own (not to mention, for those in the Cape Girardeau area, earthquakes. This promise to rebuild has nothing to do with being kind and charitable. It's just redistribution. Voluntary giving bestows grace on the donee and the donor. Coerced redistribution of wealth does not count as Christian charity, and in the end, it enriches no one.
Let's all give to those who are in need down there (I've sent my check directly to the Archdiocese of New Orleans--skipping the bureaucrats at Catholic Charities or the other agencies), but let's not demand that the government take from everyone else for them.