September 17, 2007

We Forced the People of the United States to Build Our Levees

No, seriously. Don’t laugh. We did:
Government is not a business that is funded by entrepreneurs with the intent of making a profit by meeting the needs of consumers. It built the levees and maintained them with money taxed from the people. People who will never benefit from the levees and may never even see the levees were forced to pay for their construction and maintenance. The people had no choice whether to pay the tax bill or not. The people could not negotiate with the government to build the levees to a different standard, nor could they inspect the levees themselves and demand that they be better maintained.
Likewise, the citizens' decision to live in New Orleans was skewed by the fact that the levees were built by government and not by a private contractor. First of all, the citizens of New Orleans did not pay for the entire cost of the levees. The entire people of the United States kicked in tax money. This changed the decision-making process in a substantial way. Had the citizens of New Orleans been forced to build the levees with their own funds, it is questionable whether they would have been built.
Dammit. Stop laughing! We forced them to build the levees.

And, worst of all, the people who were forced to build them “may never even see the levees” and stand next to them and admire them and take a picture with them. They couldn’t even “inspect the levees themselves and demand that they be better maintained.”

I can think of nothing more un-American.

10 comments:

Maitri said...

Just like they forced us to pay for the war in Iraq? Oh wait, we're all Americans then, right?

mominem said...

I propose a trade. We keep our oil revenue and build our own damn levees.

Z said...

OH GOD. How incredibly silly.

cwoodnola@yahoo.ca said...

We all pay for things through our taxes that we will never benifit from. How bought the Iraq war for starters.

GentillyGirl said...

And my tax dollars go towards paying farm subsidies for stuff I don't even use?

This guy is going to get an earful...

The German said...

I think you miss his point. If the feds never built the levees, NO would not have been able to build them on the same scale due to lack of money. The footprint of NO would be drastically different without levees. Private insurance would not cover property in some locations. The damage from the hurricane may have been less. That was his point, not whining that the feds used the police power of the state to take money from everyone to build something that benefits a few. That happens everyday.

m.d. said...

No. I did not miss that point.

The federal government has spent federal tax dollars to manipulate the flow of the Mississippi River from the source to the mouth. We are certainly affected (both positively and negatively) by federal projects we may never see.

"If" the feds never built the levees was never an option. The feds needed the levees or some type of hurricane protection system down here to compliment the other projects all up and down the river. The footprint of New Orleans could not have developed differently because the federal government needed this footprint in the past for the entire country, particularly the Mississippi valley, to benefit.

Today, some may think we are not as important to the country as we were just 40 or 50 years ago. So be it. I disagree with that viewpoint on our present worth, but one can not rewrite history and erase the role southeastern LA and its existence played in the economic development of this nation.

Anonymous said...

People forget that the feds have built levees all over the United States. Southern CA has an intricate levee system that was developed so that LA could spread. The fact that Arnold was calling for fed funding to shore up the CA levees following Katrina must have been missed by many

The German said...

I don't think the writer was referring to the Miss river levees, but I could be wrong. I think he was referring to the other levees (although some were built locally and are now maintained by USCOE). If NO and the surrounding areas never drained swamp and built levees, NO would have just built on the higher parts of the city. Slab houses would not have been built. Flooding losses would have been reduced. The levees changed the building practices of the people inside them, to our detriment. I am not advocating that the levees should be removed, or that the feds should not be on the hook b/c their levees did not perform as designed. But, I think the point is when the levees work everything is good. When they fail, the losses are greater. But, it's all in the past and this is just Monday morning quaterbacking anyway.

Michael said...

The Flood Control Acts authorizing various construction projects nationwide were passed by Congress in open votes and presumably with open debate. I don't recall any restrictions on citizen action in regards to these votes. Interested or motivated parties could have contacted their representatives and/or senators, rallied, lobbied, written letters, or otherwise acted for or against the legislation. If they didn't, well, too bad. The various acts are now and continue to be the law.

Now, the government is allowed, also by law, to effectively immunize themselves from being sued for the equivalent of breach of contract, no pun intended, however, if I remember right, that didn't prevent the filing of claims by parties in the event that immunity is revoked (presumably by court decision).

But, until that is resolved, the fact is that the federal government reneged on the provisions of the various acts, at least in regards to New Orleans. And, unless the legislation is repealed, the government will remain in violation.