Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Hurricane Rita
America's Debate > Archive > Policy Debate Archive > [A] Domestic Policy
Google
DaytonRocker
It may be a little early to say, but it looks like Rita will broadside Galveston, Texas. So far, it seems they've managed to track these storms somewhat accurately. So, there's no reason to think it won't happen (although the storm could turn and miss).

It seems as if Katrina has tapped us out. The GOP is even starting to balk at the amount of money we've committed to borrow and spend.

Now, Rita is set to hit Galveston and it could get very, very bad. Galveston could almost be washed away. In addition to the catastrophic damage, there will be another dynamic - people who have evacuated New Orleans. They will have to leave again.

I believe many people will receive twice the FEMA benefits, and on top of that, seek additional compensation because we've sent them there. Lastly, Texas might want a better response since Bush is from Texas.

But who is going to pay it? How is it going to get paid?

My question for debate is:
Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?
Google
Ringwraith
QUOTE(DaytonRocker @ Sep 21 2005, 05:25 PM)
It may be a little early to say, but it looks like Rita will broadside Galveston, Texas. So far, it seems they've managed to track these storms somewhat accurately. So, there's no reason to think it won't happen (although the storm could turn and miss).

It seems as if Katrina has tapped us out. The GOP is even starting to balk at the amount of money we've committed to borrow and spend.

Now, Rita is set to hit Galveston and it could get very, very bad. Galveston could almost be washed away. In addition to the catastrophic damage, there will be another dynamic - people who have evacuated New Orleans. They will have to leave again.

I believe many people will receive twice the FEMA benefits, and on top of that, seek additional compensation because we've sent them there. Lastly, Texas might want a better response since Bush is from Texas.

But who is going to pay it? How is it going to get paid?

My question for debate is:
Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?
*



I believe that I heard on the local radio station yesterday that ALL the less fortunate "evacuees" (such as those highlighted as living at the Astrodome) here in Houston have been evacuated so the idea of "twice the benefits" seems odd. Many of the others who have been staying here with friends/family (such as my co-worker and her family) have already returned to New Orleans to start recovery. The rest who have not returned or decided to stay in most cases don't have new permanent housing set up yet and are still staying with friends/families or even in hotels and motels. I have a hard time seeing where a major "twice the benefits" problem will occur.

As far as who will pay for the storm my response is lets see where it hits and how much damage it causes before we fret about how much it might end up costing. As for how will we pay for it??? Donations, Insurance, Federal money will all pay for part of it. The rest will be paid for by those folks (possibly including myself) who have been unfortunate enough to be in the path of this monster.

On a side note, I must say that being in the path of this storm (3rd most intense in recorded history as I write this...more intense than Katrina) so soon after Katrina is an erie feeling. I am leaving for Dallas tomorrow. I will return sometime after Saturday. I hope I return to an intact home. Please keep us folks in Southeast Texas in your thoughts.
Amlord
Sorry to hear that Ringwraith...I hope everything is ok and that your family and home are safe.

I believe the response to Katrina has set a really bad precedent. Won't every future storm victim expect at least as much as Katrina survivors? Won't we be expecting every storm to be prepared for as if it was the "big one"?

Katrina really was a convergence of bad luck, which ended up with an entire city being flooded. The President's response can be seen as a direct response to the finger pointing he endured. Now the wallet is open, how can we close it for the residents of Galveston/Houston?

Happily, Galveston is in much better shape to survive hurricane damage than ever. I hear it has 19 foot levees and has been raised 19 feet from its previous elevation.

Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?

As I said, Katrina was a bad precedent, policy-wise. Which is why we absolutely need offsets to pay for it. Government is as much about setting priorities as it is about anything else. Hopefully this will give us some encouragement to set priorities and actually cut things before funding the unexpected.
DaytonRocker
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 21 2005, 09:08 PM)

I believe the response to Katrina has set a really bad precedent.  Won't every future storm victim expect at least as much as Katrina survivors?  Won't we be expecting every storm to be prepared for as if it was the "big one"?

You've made the point much better than me.

Another city potentially being destroyed would be beyond devastating for all. I don't believe America's pockets will be as deep this time while Bush is ponying up our children's and grandchildren's future. That $300-600 billion we've paid out to build a new nation in Iraq sure would come in handy now... whistling.gif

If it has to hit somewhere, I sure hope it turns south...way south.

By "twice the benefits", my concern is that we will get blamed for moving people into the path of another major hurricane...as if it's our fault. And we'll have to pay even more than Katrina. Maybe not though...I'll concede that. We'll see what Jesse Jackson has to say about it.

edited to add:
Good luck to you Ringwraith. Please keep out of harm's way and good luck to you.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 21 2005, 07:08 PM)
Happily, Galveston is in much better shape to survive hurricane damage than ever.  I hear it has 19 foot levees and has been raised 19 feet from its previous elevation.
*


And you'd be wrong... if this thing hits Galveston then Galveston is going to be gone, period. First of all the seawall is not a levee and it doesn't surround the whole island or anything. Secondly all this thing is designed for is to keep storm surge for lesser hurricanes at bay and prevent the city from washing away when the tide returns to normal. Rita is a very intense Cat 5 right now, even if it weakens to a Cat 4 before landfall the surge will top the seawall easily.

This is a picture of the "seawall", you really think that is going to do much good Amlord? I lived in Houston for 25 years and I can assure you it won't if Galveston gets a direct hit.

The areas around Houston are also at great risk of flooding if the hurricane hits galveston. This article at CNN has a link to a video which simulates what could happen. You'll find the link in the 4th paragraph (it can't be directly linked unfortunately).

Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?
If we get even close to the same amount of damage here I think it is safe to say our economy is going to spiral into the toilet.

There are plenty of fixed rigs in the path of the Hurricane that could easily be damaged. Katrina wrought havoc on some of the most durable rigs out there including the MARS. Want to know about fixed platforms check this page out.

Secondly, there is significant refinery production on the Texas gulf coast. In anticipation of the hurricane those refineries have already been shut down and if they are damaged during the storm that won't be good news for our already existing capacity problem. This is an old tracking map from CNN but it shows where the refineries are. Some areas have already reported shortages of gas. Together the Texas and Louisiana regions represent almost half of all US refinery capacity - picture.
Devils Advocate
QUOTE(Cube Jokey)
If we get even close to the same amount of damage here I think it is safe to say our economy is going to spiral into the toilet.


I don't think there's any way this could be as bad as Katrina, monetarily or body count wise. First of all, the reason Katrina was so bad, as everyone knows, is because it hit a city that mostly lies below sea level. So with the storm surge and levee break most of the city was underwater. There's no chance for that to happen in Houston/Galveston. Now granted, the Houston/Galveston area is at a low sea level, but there is no lake waiting to rush in when anything breaks. The outskirts of the city, by the gulf, will probably flood with the storm surge, and there will be considerable wind and water damage, but I doubt it will be in the same ball park as Katrina. Also, if (and hopefully this doesn't happen) Galveston is wiped off the face of Texas, then it's better in a monetary way because it's a smaller city. That makes me sound like I'm trying to rationalize it's destruction, which I'm not, I'm just trying to point out the differences between a hit of the Houston/Galveston area and the New Orleans/Biloxie area.

Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?

I would expect a change in our economy and I don't think Bush's patented barrow & spend now, ask questions later policy very thoughtful. I would expect the federal government to pay for what it usually pays for with national disasters. I would say Katrina was the exception to the rule. Who paid for Andrew rebuilding? Hugo? I think the same rules should apply, though I admit I don't know what they are. I'm not exactly sure how the private/public rebuilding goes with federal and private insurance money and such. But I would expect the government to do what it usually does in natural disaster situations.

Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Devils Advocate @ Sep 21 2005, 10:32 PM)
The outskirts of the city, by the gulf, will probably flood with the storm surge, and there will be considerable wind and water damage, but I doubt it will be in the same ball park as Katrina.  Also, if (and hopefully this doesn't happen) Galveston is wiped off the face of Texas, then it's better in a monetary way because it's a smaller city.  That makes me sound like I'm trying to rationalize it's destruction, which I'm not, I'm just trying to point out the differences between a hit of the Houston/Galveston area and the New Orleans/Biloxie area.
*


First I would advise you to watch that video I linked in the CNN article - that is some pretty severe flooding and those areas aren't sparsely populated. Secondly, you should also be aware that Houston suffered from pretty severe flooding a few years ago from a mere tropical storm which dumped a lot of rain on the city. The drainage system in downtown and many neighborhoods was completely overwhelmed.

Finally, Galveston is probably the least of our worries from a financial standpoint. Houston is the 4th biggest city in the country and has one of the busiest ports in the country. Houston also houses many of the country's refineries (previously linked).

The damage doesn't have to be anywhere near as dramatic to have a very adverse impact on the economy. Not to mention the fact that the rebuilding cost is going to be at least in the 10's of billions if not hundreds of billions.

Watch what happens to gas prices across the country in the coming days and then watch what happens if the storm hits galveston/houston directly.

A Houston/Galveston hit won't be near as dramatic as the New Orleans hit but it will cost us infinitely more financially.
jaellon
QUOTE(Ringwraith @ Sep 21 2005, 07:07 PM)
On a side note, I must say that being in the path of this storm (3rd most intense in recorded history as I write this...more intense than Katrina) so soon after Katrina is an erie feeling.  I am leaving for Dallas tomorrow.  I will return sometime after Saturday.  I hope I return to an intact home.  Please keep us folks in Southeast Texas in your thoughts.


Best of luck, Ringwraith. Hope everything works out for you and your family.

I must say I'm nervous about this hurricane. I think our economy is going to take a hit, at least for the short term. It all depends on how much damage the oil refineries and rigs take.

If Galveston is destroyed, I know there will be those clamoring for the same kind of relief that New Orleans got, and while I respect President Bush in a lot of ways, I really don't like his current "spend, spend, spend" policy. If he bows to pressure and tries to keep face by spending left and right, the deficit and/or tax increases will do more to hurt our economy than the loss of a few refineries.
Paladin Elspeth
I'll join the others in saying best of luck to you and your loved ones, Ringwraith. clover.gif flowers.gif

Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?

Since when did George W. Bush give a rat's behind about who is going to be paying for all the damage? He obviously does not want to take the tax cuts away from the wealthy, but it is perfectly all right for him to have the construction workers' wages cut while rebuilding Mississippi and Louisiana, all the while having Halliburton rake in the bucks relatively unimpeded. Any feigned concern about the plight of the barely employed has been exposed to be just that on the part of this administration.

How about pulling the troops out of Iraq? How about not funding the rebuilding of Iraq any more? Or does Bush just love war too much that a couple of MAJOR disasters stateside aren't going to get him down? OKAY, calm down, PE, enough of a diatribe already; these people already know how you feel... ermm.gif

Why, the answer to the question is as plain as the noses on any of our faces...WE ARE, ONCE AGAIN, GOING TO BE THE ONES TO PAY FOR IT! Now, we'll borrow the money first from the Asians as we have been doing all along, so it won't seem so much like the bill is going to arrive at our doorstep unless, of course, we notice the higher insurance premiums coming in the mail.

The government's got to do something about this. The problem is that Bush is as entrenched in the White House as a tick under a dog's collar. What're we gonna do--IMPEACH HIM as he continues to show fiscal irresponsibility? laugh.gif

We made our bed with George W. Bush; now we're lying in it.
TedN5
Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?

I'm with Cube Jockey, if Rita hits the Huston megopolis directly, destroys large areas, wrecks many of the oil platforms in the gulf, seriously damages the refineries in the area, and takes 25% of the total natural gas supply off line the human and economic consequences could be huge. I would be far more confident in facing the situation with different leadership.

This could well be a situation in which the macroeconomic response will require major fiscal policy adjustments rather than relying on monetary policy as we have for the last 25 years. The situation is complicated by Bush's already massive structural debt and the hemorrahing balance of current accounts with the rest of the world.

It is likely that additional debt will be required, both to help the rebuilding and to provide fiscal stimulus to a weakened economy. To provide long term reassurance to foreign currency holders and investors, the tax cuts should be rolled back and new taxes enacted both to take effect after the economy recovers. These should be designed to eliminate the long term structure deficits. It may be necessary to impose short term rationing of petroleum and natural gas to make sure everyone receives essential supplies.

The futility of the Iraqi occupation should also be recognized and the bleeding of treasure and lives brought to as speedy and stable an end as possible so that resources can be focussed on domestic needs. In fact, the whole $420 billion military budget should be cut dramatically. If we abandon our imperialistic goals, there is no need to spend as much as the next ten nations spend on their militaries. What purpose do the 14 Trident submarines serve? Or what about the boondogle of the missile defense system that can't pass staged tests and which can be easily overwhelmed by any potential adversary and costs $10 billion per year to deploy.

Handling major crises are one of the fundamental purposes of government and we should all share equitably in the burdens required. However, all these gulf communities should not be rebuilt as they were where they were. If individuals rebuild in the same manner in the same vulnerable locations, it should be made clear that they are on their own financially in any future event. Assistance should be provided to reestablish homes and businesses in less vulnerable location or with building standards adequate to withstand major hurricanes.

What are the chances that a program like this will be adopted given this administration and this Congress? 0.
Google
Devils Advocate
QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Secondly, you should also be aware that Houston suffered from pretty severe flooding a few years ago from a mere tropical storm which dumped a lot of rain on the city. The drainage system in downtown and many neighborhoods was completely overwhelmed.


The drainage system is definitely not the best, especially for a city that sees bad rain storms and tropical storms/hurricanes as often as it does. I suppose when I was responding to your post I was thinking of rebuilding costs instead of aggregate costs of both rebuilding and the economy. There will no doubt be an effect from Rita on the economy, and gas prices will rise yet again (ugh).

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
A Houston/Galveston hit won't be near as dramatic as the New Orleans hit but it will cost us infinitely more financially.


This is exactly what I said, or was tyring to say, minus the part about the economy.
AuthorMusician
Assuming Galveston gets hit by Hurricane Rita, who will pay for it? Can Bush's borrow and spend fiscal policy survive Hurricane Rita, or should we expect a change in our economy?

I don't think it matters who gets hit by Rita. This thing looks half as big as the entire Gulf. Nobody is prepared for storms of this magnitude.

Who will pay for the resulting damage? Look in the mirror. Everything is about to cost more, yet wages stay stagnant or sink. Get ready for a hit on living standards across the board.

Yes, the economy will change, no doubt. Credit will likely get very expensive or not available, so borrow and spend could be cut off at the knees. I don't have a very strong idea on how this will pan out, due to the world economy working in mysterious ways. But if natural disasters continue to pile up, it won't be pretty. Oceanfront property in the east and south could become worthless and impossible to insure, causing industries to locate far inland. That would raise real estate values for, say, Oklahoma and Kansas. Maybe Memphis will become the newer orleans.

Well, that's just speculation. Maybe Katrina and Rata are anomalies. Maybe signs of times to come. Don't know.

My sympathies to all who are having their lives disrupted. I know, that sounds so understated as to be an insult. Believe me, I have the words and the emotions to back them, but the profanity filter keeps me polite. This situation sucks a whole lot.
This is a simplified version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.