Friday, May 05, 2006

And Soon You're Talking Real Money 

Our distinguished colleague Da Po'Boy (at Da Po'Blog) notes that the Bush administration has been attempting to classify $18.5 billion in flood insurance claims as "hurricane relief." From a February post:
[I]nsurance claims payments are not rebuilding “aid” or “relief” or “assistance.” If you are covered for the loss, it is what you are due. It’s not optional. The federal government must pay the flood insurance claims

The National Flood Insurance Program didn’t have enough borrowing power to pay the amount of claims after this hurricane season, so Congress did the only thing it could do and
raised the NFIP’s borrowing limit. The Senators and Representatives did not do this out of the kindness of their hearts. They had to do it . . . .

I wouldn’t be making a big deal out of this if the administration wasn’t holding it over our heads.
Bush (before his latest $18 billion request): "We'll continue to work with the folks down there. But I want to remind the people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot…"
No doubt the tens of thousands of NOLA refugees whose homes were wiped out thanks to the malfeasance of federal agencies appreciate the President's timely reminder; we wonder whether he has any similar advice for the various hogs now feeding at the government trough. From the AP (courtesy of our esteemed colleague Chip Spear at Political Sports):
While removing enough debris to cover Britain, contractors working on hurricane recovery have overbilled the government in a $63 billion operation that only will get more expensive, according to a House report Thursday.

Mileage claims were overstated to get extra fees, debris was mixed improperly to inflate prices and companies sent bills twice for removing the same loads, Democrats on the GOP-controlled House Government Reform Committee found . . . .

In a story last October, The Associated Press reported of instances in which the Katrina debris cleanup involved five layers of subcontractors. Some haulers reported they were being paid just $6 a cubic yard. Many of those interviewed at the time said they believed the prime contractors were being paid $26 to $28 a yard. The corps refused to provide the cost figures specified in the master contracts and last month denied the AP's request for those figures, made under the Freedom of Information Act.

The committee chairman, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said Congress approved more than $63 billion for disaster relief and that recovery expenses may top $200 billion.

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