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Earmarking Hurricane Katrina Donations

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Americans are an inherently empathetic people. This Nation has always helped its poor and downtrodden, the inflow of donations will be no exception. I have been talking with many people who want to help, but cannot get over those three-days of Television Video Footage of looters. They want to give even though they are cash strapped themselves with an average of 2.2 kids, white picket fence, college degree, mini-van, SUV and high credit card debt. Still they say they will skip a night out, burden another hardship and send in the money to help those who have lost everything. There are a lot of great people in the United States and we not only help our poor, we insist that our government help the people in need around the world from human rights abuses, tyrannical dictators, natural disasters, disease and poverty.

I propose we earmark the funds inflowing to the Hurricane Katrina victims. We should divide them by; For New Orleans and Other than New Orleans. The looters were in the City of New Orleans not the suburban areas or areas of Mississippi or Alabama's Gulf Coast.

This will allow for immediate reaching out and inflows while our nation and media have a national discussion about what to do with those who riot, loot and cause civil disruption during crisis. It will allow us to heal and become more understanding of the issues during severe crisis and perhaps it will allow us to forgive a little before we send in money to New Orleans. Perhaps we might get some apologies and a little justice. Those who stole and looted were caught on video and we can use those videos to identify the thieves and bring them to justice as we close this rescue efforts chapter and move into clean-up and re-construction.

Today, business has included individual members sharing out favors in appropriations, and further bills through earmarks. The Americans should have a right to know more than who funded special interest legislation. One needs earmark reform that puts an end to particular interest earmarking, and offers solutions to stop the practice of earmark abuse.

It does not mean that earmarks are essentially bad. Some serve significant public intentions. But, they should be in the open so that all can see, and evaluate. Their use should be considerably limited.

Earlier, earmark reform was individually passed by the Senate and the House. However, they left the conclusion for conference committee. Surprisingly, after the last session finished, the bill was worked out confidentially. It was quite unexpected.

It seems that Congress has obtained God-like supremacy. They move healthcare centers hundreds of miles for billing purposes. For instance, a healthcare center in Kingston was moved to 80 miles from its present location in NY City. Hospitals face very high costs there. Similarly, in rural Green Bay, a hospital was moved 200 miles somewhere in urban Chicago.


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