Politics

Now, Did Anyone See This Storm Coming?

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Is anyone surprised?

Amid cries that boiled down to “throw aid ($$) at it,” Congress did what the media and public response demanded and the result is catastrophic waste

Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one: it produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion.

Gregory D. Kutz, a G.A.O. official, testified before a House panel about fraud and held up one of the $2,000 debit cards given out by FEMA.
A hotel owner in Sugar Land, Tex., has been charged with submitting $232,000 in bills for phantom victims. And roughly 1,100 prison inmates across the Gulf Coast apparently collected more than $10 million in rental and disaster-relief assistance.

There are the bureaucrats who ordered nearly half a billion dollars worth of mobile homes that are still empty, and renovations for a shelter at a former Alabama Army base that cost about $416,000 per evacuee.

And there is the Illinois woman who tried to collect federal benefits by claiming she watched her two daughters drown in the rising New Orleans waters. In fact, prosecutors say, the children did not exist.

Watch out for the next storm looming … “Hurricane Taxpayer! “