Friday, September 02, 2005

Relocation and Rebuilding

There's been quite a bit of discussion about whether New Orleans will be rebuilt. It seems to me that cities grow where they do for objective reasons, having to do mostly with a very fundmental human activity: trade and commerce. The Mississippi River is vast, famously navigable, and drains the profoundly fertile and productive agricultural heartland of a large continent. Where that river reaches the sea, there is going to be a seaport city; that's all there is to it. So it isn't a question of whether there will be a New Orleans; it's just a question of how, meaning who will pay for it. Yes, a fair amount of what we've been pleased to call "land" around there is below sea level. So what? The configuration of the "New" New Orleans ("New-Squared Orleans?") may differ from that of the city destroyed by this year's hurricane. Another way of looking at it is that living safely a few meters -- or even a few tens of meters -- below sea level is not exactly a prohibitive engineering challenge in the early 21st century. Admittedly, it may be an economic challenge. And it's an economic topic that's on my mind.

Via Matthew Barganier at the blog, we learn that Israel is asking for a whole pile of money for the relocation of the "settlers" from the small territory they occupied in Gaza. The story says they'll be asking for $2.2B for relocating 9000 settlers. Does anyone doubt that they'll get it? I'm sure AIPAC will see to it.

While the story referred to "9000 settlers," I think there's a good possibility that what was actually meant was 9000 settler households. The difference is significant. Let's do a little math. $2.2 billion divided by 9000 households yields $244,444 per household. (If we're literally talking about 9000 people, at maybe three or four people per household, then we'd multiply that figure by three or four ... $730K to $978K per household. Let's be conservative here and say it's "only" $244K.)

Back to New Orleans. Whatever happens in a few months, after things are dry and the dead are buried, do you think our federal masters are going to spend a quarter of a million bucks on each household to set things right? And yet these folks are citizens.

Citizens of the wrong country, maybe ...

Clarification and Revision Department: it occurs to me that the post above could be read as a demand that the FedGov pour a quarter-mil into the pocket of each victim of the hurricane. Not at all; it is simply an observation of how generous our masters are with Approved Foreigners. What I'd like to see is simple: no cash at all poured into anyone's pocket -- especially the foreigners' pockets.

1 comment:

Siagiah said...

I find it extremely troubling that PAYING Israel to UNdo the illegal building, they did for years with our approval, would even be a consideration at this point.

I hope that Americans DEMAND that our tax dollars don't go to Israel but I shan't hold my breath.