Sunday, March 30, 2008

Victim Culture

I could write from now until the end of time on the idiocy that the American left and their minions in the media are responsible for, not the least of which is this mentality that people are not capable, resourceful and sentient beings, but helpless, stupid victims deserving of our sympathy; or, at least, our money.

Comes now this story from the AP, headlined "Katrina victims may have to repay money." (emphasis mine)

Those poor souls who died in the storm were victims. The survivors, don't forget, are also victims. I've got to excerpt a pretty big part of the article, but hang in there.

NEW ORLEANS - Imagine that your home was reduced to mold and wood framing by Hurricane Katrina. Desperate for money to rebuild, you engage in a frustrating bureaucratic process, and after months of living in a government-provided trailer tainted with formaldehyde you finally win a federal grant.

Then a collector calls with the staggering news that you have to pay back thousands of dollars.

Thousands of Katrina victims may be in that situation.

A private contractor under investigation for the compensation it received to run the Road Home grant program for Katrina victims says that in the rush to deliver aid to homeowners in need some people got too much. Now it wants to hire a separate company to collect millions in grant overpayments.

The contractor, ICF International of Fairfax, Va., revealed the extent of the overpayments when it issued a March 11 request for bids from companies willing to handle "approximately 1,000 to 5,000 cases that will necessitate collection effort."

The bid invitation said: "The average amount to be collected is estimated to be approximately $35,000, but in some cases may be as high as $100,000 to $150,000."

The biggest grant amount allowed by the Road Home program is $150,000, so ICF believes it paid some recipients the maximum when they should not have received a penny. If ICF's highest estimate of 5,000 collection cases — overpaid by an average of $35,000 — proves to be true, that means applicants will have to pay back a total of $175 million.

One-third of qualified applicants for Road Home help had yet to receive any rebuilding check as of this past week. The program, which has come to symbolize the lurching Katrina recovery effort, is financed by $11 billion in federal funds.

ICF spokeswoman Gentry Brann said in an e-mail Friday that the overpayments are the inevitable result of the Road Home grant being recalculated to account for insurance money and government aid given to Katrina victims.


Got that? Skip the melodrama in the beginning and read the fourth paragraph again: this is money that people received that didn't belong to them and that they weren't entitled to. If the bank transfers $1 million into your account wrongfully and you spend it, guess what? You still have to find a way to pay it back.

And then it gets worse, if you didn't think that was a possibility. Some folks got the maximum - $150,000 - who weren't entitled to a penny. In all, $175 million, quite possibly, that needs to be repaid. Funded how, again? Oh, yeah, $11 billion in federal funds.

Let's pause for a minute and reflect on that. $11 billion to rebuild New Orleans (and parts of the Gulf Coast), and we're coming up on, what, three years this summer? The Chicago fire of 1871 burned down nearly the entire city between October 8-10, 1871. By 1873, the city had rebuilt, surprisingly with no federal disaster aid. Fortunes were made (and lost) in those two years, but that's how free markets work. Steel beam construction was a slightly important innovation out of the rebuilding effort, and Chicago grew up stronger and better than it had been before the fire.

I've said it before regarding Katrina: there was indeed a failure of government in getting people out and responding to the storm. But the failure wasn't that of the federal government. It wasn't really even the failure of the state. No, it was the failure of the self, and the absence of self-government; and the continued dismal state of the region is further indictment that a dependent people are as sad a condition as exists.

How has this country lost the can-do spirit of men like Andrew Higgins? And New Orleans, of all places: shouldn't you look to his example?

8 comments:

Rick Darby said...

Michael,

Let's whip to ABC headquarters and pitch a concept, are you with me? We'll be, like, co-producers and cash in big time!

A new reality show: American Victim. We'll recruit a batch of typical underserved minority other-abled citizens, put 'em in a typical urban habitat, and wait till there's a big storm. Then we follow them week by week, see?

We'll watch as they curse the government, loot each other, and claim benefits! Each week a few dummies who look after themselves and each other drop out, and narrow the field.

That takes it down to the cream of the crop, the contestants with the most federal aid! Then the run for the roses: who can spend it the fastest?

I tell ya, Michael, this is gonna be big, big!

Michael Tams said...

Rick,

Good man, you're forgetting the all important: challenges.

Plus I think Fox might be our best bet. I actually know a writer, I'll see if she likes the idea (we'd retain the all-important Executive Producer titles, naturally).

-MT

beasleys brother said...

Ok, I might be slow.... You want the Katrina victims to pay back the money they received from the largest disaster in US History where people lost literally everything? Katrina was handled very badly. I do not think that it is a good use of tax dollars either, but realistically, that money is gone. Several people are in litigation from their insurance companies. What needs to happen, before people start suing the government is a calculation of Aid that was used in the 9/11 disaster where Kenneth Feinberg was the chair of The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. A calculation will have to be done because situations like this lead to massive fraud and litigation that will never end.

Michael Tams said...

BB,

No, I wouldn't say slow, let me try and put it a little differently.

Some people filed appropriate claims (validity of federal disaster relief shall be another topic altogether for argument's sake) and received the correct amount. Some people weren't entitled to any compensation, and some of those folks got as much as $150,000. The analogy of the bank error, I think, is apt.

While I think that Katrina was handled badly as well, I think it's more of an indictment of the frame of mind of the people of America in the 21st century that people think somehow the feds should have responded better.

I would suggest they shouldn't be responsible for such things at all. The "governmental" failure was at all levels of where the responsibility should have been: the individual, the family, the community, the city, county and state.

For me, it's a question of what sphere of government is responsible for taking care of individuals in the event of a storm, earthquake or other domestic event.

-MT

victor said...

its very nice story thanks for link ,,


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victor said...

its very nice story thanks for link ,,


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sharon said...

thanks for sharing .....

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sharon said...

thanks for the link...

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